With the recent increases in data bandwidth, frequency and chip area in VLSI systems, the design methodology for on-chip clock distribution lines has been changing from an RC-model to an RLC-model and they must be treated as transmission lines. However, on-chip transmission line design requires time-consuming electromagnetic (EM) simulation and it is difficult to optimize many parameters such as metal width, space, length and layers within the limited time range. In this paper, we present a fully calculation-based on-chip transmission line modeling and optimization methodology. We applied our proposed methodology to a 9 mm on-chip clock distribution line with various metal layer combinations at 3 GHz in the TSMC 0.18 μm 1-poly 6-metal CMOS fabrication process. The generated model showed good match with EM-simulation. We also show that the optimization methodology can find the smallest metal width and space combination that achieves the lowest power from given target specifications such as delay and output swing.
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