Electronic Design

Design-For-Test Tool Eliminates Need For Gate-Level Scan

If there's a truism in design debug and test, it's that the earlier you can find a bug, the less costly it is to fix. Thus, finding bugs at RTL is far preferable to finding them after synthesis. With DeFacTo Technologies' HiDFT-Scan, designers can analyze their RTL IC and system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs, create the appropriate scan-test structures, and insert them into the RTL code.

HiDFT-Scan works within existing design flows and with industry-standard synthesis tools. By eliminating the need for gate-level scan, HiDFT-Scan enables a high-level design-for-test (DFT) sign-off methodology (see the figure).

The ongoing shrinkage in feature sizes at nanometer scales has made designs so complex that it's no longer realistic to perform verification at gate level. After synthesis to gates, the late implementation of any logic, including scan chains, has a significant impact on design choices and the overall project schedule. Additionally, it can adversely affect the ability to meet timing, power, and clock-speed goals.

HiDFT-Scan permits designers to create a high-level DFT signoff methodology, closing the gap between RTL and DFT. It allows the implementation of all DFT-related logic at the same stage at which primary design decisions are made, facilitating early identification of test issues. It also speeds up RTL simulation and formal verification because simulations can be run on the design after scan is inserted but before synthesis. HiDFT-Scan generates RTL scan testbenches, enabling designers to proceed with both design verification and testrelated corrections before generating the gate-level netlist, as well.

Furthermore, the methodology that's afforded by HiDFT-Scan enables designers to avoid the insertion of additional test structures on critical paths after synthesis. Users can augment their existing signoff methodologies at RTL with capabilities such as RTL analysis of test structures and management of power consumed by testing.

DeFacTo Technologies www.defactotech.com

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