Advancements in Silicon Carbide (SiC) digital integrated circuit (IC) design have enabled the ability to design complex, dense, digital blocks. Because of the large number of transistors, these complex digital designs make the time and risk of hand-crafted digital design, which has been the norm for SiC, too costly and risky. For large scale integrated digital circuits, computer aided design (CAD) tools are necessary, specifically the use of automatic synthesis, rule-based placement and signal routing software. The tools are used in progression as a design flow and are necessary for the timely and accurate creation of high-density digital designs. Application of an automated digital design flow to high-temperature SiC processes presents new challenges, such as extraction of timing characteristics at high temperatures, specifically above 400°C, as well as managing the complexity of synthesis, optimization of cell placement, verification of timing enclosure, and identifying routing constraints. These activities all require a willingness to extend and enhance the CAD software. Presented is a high temperature SiC digital synthesis flow. This flow is fully integrated with the characterization of a standard cell library that considers the variation of voltage, temperature, and process characteristics.
A digital controller for a 10,000-pixel UV focal plan array (FPA) in a SiC CMOS process was designed using this high temperature digital flow. The controller is comprised of a finite state machine (FSM), that monitors several counters, shift registers and combinational logic feedback signals. The FSM is configured to optimize the FPA for different applications and exposures. The Register-Transfer Level (RTL) design of the FSM produces between 900 and 1,000 gates, depending on the temperature-dependent time closure with a total footprint of 14mm2. Typical SiC processes present a non-monotonic clock speed over temperature. The advantage of this digital design flow is that it allows the designer to target a temperature corner for the netlist design but verify its operation over a > 400°C operating range. This flow is currently being enhanced for use with NASA's SiC JFET-R process to create a high temperature communication protocol interface.