Informational graphic

Layout of an Integrated Circuit

Nishant Gupta and Githin Alapatt

Layout of an Integrated Circuit  by Nishant Gupta and Githin Alapatt

The design of an integrated circuit (IC) starts with the functional description of the circuit and ends with the fabrication of different layers on a silicon wafer. There are about 700 steps involved in this process, and every step is critical for the successful operation of the IC. In this image, we show the layout of an eight-bit adder circuit on a silicon wafer. It consists of two main components: a standard cell (rectangular blocks) and the connection between standard cells. Different colors in the layout represent different layers to be deposited on silicon wafer. For example, in this layout we have used poly-silicon (red), four metal layers (blue, pink, brown and gold) and other diffusion layers (green and yellow). Different metal layers are connected using vias, which are holes in a layer that connect a particular layer with the layer over it. This figure is only a glimpse of the actual IC layout. A typical IC layout can have millions of these cells. This work was done as a part of an Advanced IC Design course in the Department Of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Clemson University. We are grateful to our instructor Dr. Kelvin F. Poole for his guidance.

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