Earlier this month, Synopsys announced that it had acquired Moortec, the UK-based leading provider of in-chip monitoring technology specializing in process voltage and temperature (PVT) sensors. 

Moortec’s technology has been adopted by many of the world’s leading fabless and integrated device manufacturer (IDM) companies—including AMD, Broadcom, Intel, and Nvidia to name a few—and forms a core part of hundreds of chip designs on advanced process nodes.

Also on Moortec’s roster of customers is TSMC, the Taiwanese multinational semiconductor manufacturing and design company that uses Moortec’s distributed thermal sensor (DTS) in-chip monitoring solution on their N5 process.

In-Chip Monitoring Technology

It’s important to know what’s going on inside a chip. From identifying hot spots to carrying out optimizations, understanding dynamic conditions as well as how a chip has been made have become critical requirements at advanced process nodes, especially with geometries scaling to 5nm where thermal activity escalates. 

In-chip monitoring

Some of the factors under consideration for in-chip monitoring include process monitoring, thermal sensing, and supply monitoring, amongst others. Image used courtesy of Moortec
 

In-chip monitoring technology like Moortec’s facilitates real-time critical management of increasingly variable physical and functional conditions, thereby improving performance. It can also lead to increased gains in reliability as accurate monitoring enables fault detection and lifetime prediction by sensing circuit stressors, such as prolonged high supply voltage and the consequences of localized high temperatures. 

Indeed, as geometries shrink further, variability in how each semiconductor device is manufactured will continue to grow, so figuring out how they react to dynamic changes, how they will age, and their speed, among other factors, will allow for better optimization and compensation, leading to the extraction of maximum value from every single chip.

Better Silicon Lifecycle Optimization

Synopsys’ acquisition appears to have been driven by Moortec’s proven background in in-chip monitoring.

Synopsys’ Silicon Lifecycle Management platform

Synopsys’ Silicon Lifecycle Management platform for data collection, detailed analytics, and chip optimization. Image used courtesy of Synopsys

Synopsys offers a large portfolio of IP solutions for system-on-chip (SoC) designs. With SoCs growing all the more complex, however, understanding how they behave in real-world applications is a challenge. And this is where Moortec comes in. 

Moortec’s sensors are a core component of Synopsys’ new Silicon Lifecycle Management (SLM) platform. Data from these sensors is important for a proper understanding of chip performance activity and will enable the Synopsys SLM platform’s analytics engines to produce more detailed and precise optimizations at each stage of the semiconductor lifestyle from beginning to end, design to deployment. 

How the Two Companies May Complement Each Other

Synopsys claims the integration of Moortec’s sensor technology into the SLM platform will add a whole new level of value by allowing design engineers to fully understand the complex activities that take place within the chip. According to the announcement, this information will help derive the greatest optimizations throughout the chip lifecycle. 

“We continue to deliver on our roadmap of innovation to provide silicon lifecycle optimization solutions that address the evolving needs of the dynamic semiconductor industry,” said Sassine Ghazi, chief operating officer of Synopsys. Ghazi went on to add that the acquisition will accelerate the expansion of the company’s SLM platform by giving customers a comprehensive data-analytics-driven solution for advanced devices.

Synopsys’ purchase of Moortec follows its acquisition of Qualtera in June. The terms of this deal were not disclosed by Synopsys because it’s not material to its financials. 60-or-so Moortec staff are said to be remaining in the UK and other locations.

Source: All About Circuits

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