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06 May 2008
HeadlineTanner tools chip in to successful tape out
A Philips Research Labs project group has successfully completed its first two mixed signal IC designs using the suite of EDA tools from Tanner EDA. Both devices were proved to be 'right first time', and are now undergoing further verification for integration into ground-breaking applications in the healthcare sector.

The Active Matrix Systems Group, one of several design teams at the Redhill, UK-based Philips Research Labs, started using the Tanner EDA tool suite just over a year ago. "We evaluated the tools extensively, then selected these two critical designs, one already underway, and the other just starting, as our first real-project trial of the new software", explained Steven Deane, project manager.

The team was particularly impressed with the functionality and the ease of use of the Tanner tools. "Schematics and design data imported from other tools was instantly readable and usable. Simulation was comparatively easy to set up. And we were very happy with the functionality of the layout tools, especially the design rule checkers", Deane confirmed.

The designers are using a fully integrated set of Tanner's S-Edit schematic capture package and T-Spice simulator for front end design, L-Edit layout with schematic driven layout, and place and route, for physical design, and verification software featuring Tanner�s interactive design rule checker.
With cutting-edge research programmes to develop novel devices and processes in tandem, the Philips Research team needed flexibility in the tools. "The ability to set up our own libraries was important. And, when we needed it, support from Tanner in the US was excellent - effective and fast!" Deane commented.

The team found unexpected benefits with the PC-based tools, compared to the workstation-hosted suite it had previously used. The floating-licence business model facilitates a more flexible workflow, with more engineers able to access the tools simultaneously, and greater mobility, as designers could take their work with them, to the lab next door, while travelling or at meetings on client sites.

The Active Matrix Systems group specialises in advanced analogue and mixed signal IC designs, manufactured on amorphous and polysilicon technologies, as well as more conventional silicon processes. These complex designs, from 60 to 100,000 transistors in size, are targeted at a variety of applications including lab-on-a-chip diagnostic devices.