Digital IC Design

August 13, 2015, anysilicon

Digital IC design is a process of developing a digital Integrated Circuit, this means that the entire IC content is digital.  Digital IC design is becoming extremely difficult due to the increasing complexity and operating frequency of these chips but also due to challenges arising from new process nodes. Digital Integrated Circuits are found in a variety of different electronics and used in applications such as CPU, memories, processing, controllers etc.


Most digital integrated circuit designs are performed by electronic engineers which are specialised in semiconductors technologies. It takes a lengthy education in order to gain all of the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to design digital integrated circuits.


The two main elements of digital integrated circuit design lie in the architecture and design process as well as the fabrication process. Advances are being made in both of these aspects regularly so it’s important for any engineer to continuously relearn their skills and update software for design (EDA).


Digital circuits are generally designed from a top-down approach and any digital integrated circuit often has millions of logic cells and connections on one single chip. Controlling all of these logic and connections as well as fabricating these Integrated Circuits usually involves the use of special design software (EDA). Mapping out all of these connections by hand would take years but the software can actually develop digital integrated circuits through special generation.


Typical digital IC design is based on CMOS process technology which is available from the majority of today’s semiconductor foundries.