Does Charge Flow Through A Circuit Or Into A Circuit Interconnection Noise Sources and Reductions in Nanometer CMOS

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Interconnection Noise Sources and Reductions in Nanometer CMOS

When wires are placed tightly together, as seen in nanometer CMOS technologies, various unwanted effects occur. One is the capacitive property formed on the wires that results from the storage of charge at the metal-oxide interface. The second is inductive noise, which results from the induced voltage on the signal line due to the changing magnetic field created when switching signals cause current to flow through the loop.

By changing the signal level and causing oscillatory transitions that could cause overshoot or undershoot, these effects affect circuit performance. These effects are classified as interconnect noise because they arise from the interconnect wires used to connect the circuit elements on the chip. This noise has resistive, inductive and capacitive components.

Interconnect noise is a major problem for designers of ultra-deep submicron circuits due to unwanted variations in signals that degrade system performance. This noise can manifest itself in many forms: delay, degradation of signal integrity, etc. When two signal lines are routed together, there is capacitance between the lines. When one of the signals switches, it causes a change (error) in the other. This relationship could change the other signal or possibly cause a delay in the transmission. Layout engineers work hard to ensure these effects are minimized in chips for high performance and reliability.

Over the years, the metal part has followed the trend of process improvement, which includes shrinking the size of transistors to pack more units into a die. Unfortunately, the thickness of the interconnections did not follow the trend resulting in higher resistance per unit length. The effect of this is to increase latency as the technology expands. Two main factors contributed to this: capacitive effects that increased due to much closer on-chip routing, and increased resistance due to wire reduction. These combined factors represent a limitation of the operating frequency of the system.

There are four main sources of interconnect noise in CMOS technologies: interconnect cross capacitance, power supply, mutual inductance, and thermal noise. Interconnect cross-capacitance noise arises from the charge injected into the victim network due to the inclusion of the aggressor network through the capacitance between them. Supply noise is a spurious signal appearing at the local voltage driver, which subsequently changes the signal value at the receiver.

Mutual inductance noise occurs when a voltage is induced on the signal line as a result of the changing magnetic field created when switching signals cause current to flow through the loop. Ultimately, thermal noise results from joule heating along signal and power paths in circuits when current is flowing.

There is also a coupling (crosstalk) capacity between the two conductors. This capacitance creates noise that destroys the integrity of the signal. This leads to an increase in spurious pulse on the adjacent wire, if it has a static value or causes a delayed transition. In addition to mutual capacitance, crosstalk is also determined by the ratio of common to the sum of own and mutual capacitance (by mass).

Distances between conductors in circuits are reduced by reducing the size of the technology. This increases crosstalk and other sources of interconnect noise as the wires become more compact and closer together. This high circuit density contributes to long interconnects which can also increase crosstalk.

Crosstalk is a major source of timing uncertainty in circuits and is more common than process variation. Due to the presence of capacitance, signal switching could result in a number of problems that could potentially result in functional degradation. Low-permittivity dielectric material and signal de-synchronization (non-simultaneous switching of signals) are used to reduce crosstalk.

New techniques for reducing interconnect noise include innovations in materials, circuits, and layouts. Common methods used include buffer insertion, wire sizing, wire spacing, shield insertion. ITRS 2005 predicts increasing use of copper metallization and low-k dielectric insulators. The use of Cu instead of Al improves the circuit propagation delay by reducing the interconnect resistance.

With Cu having a lower resistance than Al, there is an increase in delay. Scaling the technology further continues to present more challenges for interconnects despite the use of copper. In the future, optimal techniques for scaling interconnect systems with other circuit systems will be needed to reduce the impact of interconnect noise. New circuits and process techniques would be required. It is expected to increase stall prevention and reduce interconnect noise by using silicon silicon-on-insulator.

In conclusion, as CMOS technology continues to shrink, leakage currents and interconnect noise will increase due to electron tunneling effects, short channel effects, junction capacitance, and other factors discussed in the paper.

Managing these factors by developing better circuits and processes would be critical to the continued success of CMOS technologies in the semiconductor industry. This would require innovative control and architecture techniques in all aspects of CMOS design. Architectural innovations have already led to renewed industrial interest in asynchronous integrated circuits that use a clockless structure to mitigate the effects of interconnect noise delay and other circuit parasitics.

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