The goal of this graduate course is to design an integrated circuit (IC) that will subsequently fabricated in an industrial fab. The prototype chips are then tested by the students.

The key focus is to go through to the complete design cycle from concept, to circuit design, layout, and verification, to testing and demonstration of the fabricated IC. The primary goal is to conceive and design ICs that have the highest possible probability of success given the available time.

Final Demonstration

The final outcome of the course needs to be the custom IC mounted on a printed circuit board (PCB) that demonstrates the IC's functionality.

The PCB needs to be able to provide a portable, standalone demonstration of the integrated circuit. E.g., it will typically be battery powered, have the necessary input (sensors, buttons, ...) and output (display, LEDs, speaker, ...) to demonstrate the operation of the IC.

Group Work

Students work in groups of 2 (or sometimes more) to complete their design.



MOSIS is offering access to an IBM 0.18um CMOS technology for this course under its academic instructional program. MOSIS will fabricate and package a limited number of chips for free which students will subsequently test. MOSIS requires students to submit a test report for their design.

IC Design Project Examples

There will be a number of IC designs project templates available for the students to follow. The students are however strongly encouraged to develop their own IC design projects which will be checked for feasibilty by the instructor and teaching staff. The projects need to support the course goals outlined above and described in more detail below.

The focus of the course is on custom analog and digital IC design (i.e. circuits which are developed at the transistor level from schematic design, through spice-type simulations, into layout). Whereas the designkit can support digital synthesis, we are not planning to offer this option this semester. If students are interested proposing projects that require digital synthesis, they need to contact the instructor first.

How to Develop your Own IC Design Project Proposal

Remember that the key goal of this lab course is for students to experience the complete design cycle, from IC functional defintion to experimental demonstration. A second equally important goal is to design ICs that can be demonstrated on a stand-alone PCB which contains the necessary support circuitry to provide the inputs to the IC and display the outputs from the IC.

We are developing a number of new projects but for now two examples of project ideas can be found here. The digital clock project is a good illustration of the type of project this course is targeting. The students develop an IC that contains all the circuirty to implement a digital alarm clock. The test/demonstration PCB contains the power source (battery) and necessary displays (7-segment LEDs or LCD displays) and pushbuttons to set the clock. The design complexity is managable for a team of two students for an effective project design duration of about 12 weeks.


The design, layout, post-layout verification and tape-out (i.e. sending the design to the fabrication facility) of the IC will be done in the Spring semester. The IC prototypes will be manufactured in the summer and will be available for testing in the Fall semester. After testing students need to submit a testing report to MOSIS.

The major steps in the IC design are:
Step Review Action When
IC functionality definition Project selection and approval Spring
IC system level design, building block definitions, packaging spefications, and preliminary test plan System and block level review Spring
IC schematic design and transistor level simulations Design review of schematic and transistor level simulations Spring
IC layout and post-layout verification (DRC, LVS, PEX) Design review of layout and PEX results Spring
Submission of tape-out checklist + IC tape-out to MOSIS Tape-out approval Spring
Design of test and demonstration PCB Design review of PCB and test plan Spring
IC & PCB Fabrication (external vendors) Summer
PCB assembly and IC test and debug Review of test results Fall
Submission of IC test report to MOSIS Fall


After the Spring semester, non-graduating students will receive a "CP" (credit pending) grade. After submission of the test report the final grade will be assigned.

The grading of the course will be based on your design review report, chip design submission, pcb design submission and the final test report submission.

Grading weightage: TBD

Note for students planning to graduate in Spring

If you plan to graduate at the end of the Spring semester, you need to make arrangements with the instructor for the testing of your chip and the generation of the test report. MOSIS requires students to submit a test report for their design.