Thermal Analysis

Thermal analysis is gaining momentum. While these analysis tools were there in the past especially with analog and mixed signal devices, they’ve lately gained prominence with sub 90nm digital designs too.

Thermal analysis tools track thermal gradients across the die. Uneven shifting of the threshold voltage, timing violations (clock timings are especially sensitive to delay variations caused by thermal gradients), leakage, electromigration, reliability are some of the thermal problems.

While some vendors are coming out with standalone thermal analysis tools e.g Gradient, some like Magma have thermal analysis in built into their power analysis tool as they believe that since power and temperature are interlinked, a user should not be shuttling between 2 separate analysis tools. As package plays a vital role in thermal analysis, some are getting package considerations also into the product.

Along with these tools, it’s the thermal management chips which are riding along the wave. According to Databeans, thermal management ICs could reach just under 2B$ in 5 years. The main growth segments cited are the ones using FPGAs and ASICs.

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