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EDA Startup Claims TSMC Design Win

12 November 2013

Gold Standard Simulations Ltd. (GSS) announced that leading foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Hsinchu, Taiwan) has adopted the company's advanced statistical compact model extraction tool, Mystic, for TCAD device analysis.

GSS is a spin-off from the University of Glasgow and is led by Professor Asen Asenov. Professor Asenov, in addition to being CEO of the company, is the James Watt Professor of electrical engineering at the university.

Mystic is a compact model extraction tool specifically designed for accurate statistical compact model extraction. It provides a scripted environment that enables the development of advanced devices based on data from TCAD simulations or silicon measurement.

Compact models for transistor simulations are highly standardized and based largely on the BSIM software suite developed at the University of California, Berkeley, said Professor Asenov. "The models have been continuously improved, but there are hundreds of parameters and fitting devices becomes more and more difficult," he added. One consequence is that modeling can become highly computationally intensive and, if accuracy is reduced, can result in overly pessimistic design rules or designs that fail or produce low yields.

So the creation of accurate yet compact models is an essential bridge between manufacturing and design. Mystic software manages the interplay between process-induced variability and inherent statistical variability in advanced CMOS processes, said Professor Asenov.

Mystic can be integrated with both Gold Standard Simulation's Garand TCAD simulation tools and the RandomSPICE statistical circuit simulation engine. However, the Mystic models can also be used with TCAD and Spice simulators from other EDA companies, including Synopsys, Professor Asenov said.

Mystic is applicable to bulk CMOS, FinFET and fully depleted silicon-on-insulator processes. "In addition, it has the ability to make meaningful simulations of future devices, such as silicon-germanium and III-V in the FinFET," he said.

"We started three years ago. TSMC is a dream customer for GSS. We also have a second customer that we cannot disclose," said Professor Asenov. Although GSS is a private company, Professor Asenov revealed the company had sales revenue of $1.3 million over the past 12 months with annual growth of 350 percent and that he expects to triple sales in the next year.

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