PARIS Mentor Graphics Corp. has introduced FloTHERM IC, a productivity tool for semiconductor package thermal characterization and design.
In a discussion with EDA DesignLine, Ian Clark, product marketing manager, Mechanical Analysis Division, Mentor Graphics, emphasized the fact that the FloTHERM IC tool reduces the time spent on thermal characterization and design by providing an automated process that includes pre-verified thermal models to reduce the risk of modeling errors.
Clark explained: "Thermal designers in semiconductor companies typically have two primary issues to worry about thermal characterization of packages and package design itself. Due to demands for models and thermal metrics from their customers, a significant amount of time is being spent (up to 60 percent currently) on what is essentially a routine task."
He continued: "They require a solution that will bring this time down in order to enable the designers to focus on the more complex issues associated with package design itself. This can either be achieved by enabling a non-expert to generate the metric data or by simply speeding up the task and in both use cases, FloTHERM IC provides that opportunity.
Asked if it possible to go further in terms of time reduction and what should be done in that sense, Clark declared: "We estimate that we can reduce the time for the thermal designer by 25 percent, but we firmly believe that even more improvements in efficiency can be achieved if the characterization tasks can be increasingly passed to other, non-expert people in the organization."
Mentor said the FloTHERM IC tool addresses four key areas of a semiconductor package thermal characterization and design. The first area is full-spectrum thermal metric and compact model generation with full adherence to published JEDEC standards. The second is "Package-aware" parametric design for "what-if" analysis. The third area is EDA tool interfacing for detailed modeling of BGA substrates for physical layout. Finally, it addresses data mining of simulation data to allow optimized design time and reuse.
Extending the vision, Clark said Mentor Graphics' mechanical analysis division has a portfolio of tools for the thermal analysis requirements across the design spectrum, including FloTHERM, FloTHERM.PCB and FloTHERM.PACK.
FloTHERM, Clark specified, is the established product used by engineers to address complex thermal design issues at the system, board and package level. FloTHERM.PCB is a solution focusing exclusively on board level thermal issues. And, the FloTHERM.PACK product is a solution designed primarily for systems integrators who need a rapid and reliable tool for generating either detailed or compact models of packages and associated parts and test environments.
He commented: "FloTHERM IC is built on the experience gained with FloTHERM and FloTHERM.PACK but has been totally redesigned and enhanced to better support the particular needs of thermal designers in the semiconductor space."
As thermal management is a big challenge in three-dimensional IC integration, EDA DesignLine asked whether Mentor's FloTHERM IC takes this into account.
Clark explained that FloTHERM IC operates completely with the available JEDEC standards for packaging and test environments, so is primarily focused on monochip package design at this time.
He further explained: "We do support some stacked-die packages as well, but there are no standards yet available for the modeling or characterization of general 3-D package designs, and metrics are meaningless without standardization. We can, however, support modeling of any general 3-D package in our FloTHERM product."