What are the different types of delays in ASIC or VLSI design?

Different Types of Delays in ASIC or VLSI design
  • Source Delay/Latency
  • Network Delay/Latency
  • Insertion Delay
  • Transition Delay/Slew: Rise time, fall time
  • Path Delay
  • Net delay, wire delay, interconnect delay
  • Propagation Delay
  • Phase Delay
  • Cell Delay
  • Intrinsic Delay
  • Extrinsic Delay
  • Input Delay
  • Output Delay
  • Exit Delay
  • Latency (Pre/post CTS)
  • Uncertainty (Pre/Post CTS)
  • Unateness: Positive unateness, negative unateness
  • Jitter: PLL jitter, clock jitter

Gate delay
  • Transistors within a gate take a finite time to switch. This means that a change on the input of a gate takes a finite time to cause a change on the output.[Magma]

  • Gate delay =function of(i/p transition time, Cnet+Cpin).
  • Cell delay is also same as Gate delay.

Source Delay (or Source Latency)
  • It is known as source latency also. It is defined as "the delay from the clock origin point to the clock definition point in the design".

  • Delay from clock source to beginning of clock tree (i.e. clock definition point).
  • The time a clock signal takes to propagate from its ideal waveform origin point to the clock definition point in the design.

Network Delay(latency)
  • It is also known as Insertion delay or Network latency. It is defined as "the delay from the clock definition point to the clock pin of the register".
  • The time clock signal (rise or fall) takes to propagate from the clock definition point to a register clock pin.

Insertion delay
  • The delay from the clock definition point to the clock pin of the register.

Transition delay
  • It is also known as "Slew". It is defined as the time taken to change the state of the signal. Time taken for the transition from logic 0 to logic 1 and vice versa . or Time taken by the input signal to rise from 10%(20%) to the 90%(80%) and vice versa.
  • Transition is the time it takes for the pin to change state.

Slew
  • Rate of change of logic.See Transition delay.
  • Slew rate is the speed of transition measured in volt / ns.

Rise Time

  • Rise time is the difference between the time when the signal crosses a low threshold to the time when the signal crosses the high threshold. It can be absolute or percent.
  • Low and high thresholds are fixed voltage levels around the mid voltage level or it can be either 10% and 90% respectively or 20% and 80% respectively. The percent levels are converted to absolute voltage levels at the time of measurement by calculating percentages from the difference between the starting voltage level and the final settled voltage level.

Fall Time


  • Fall time is the difference between the time when the signal crosses a high threshold to the time when the signal crosses the low threshold.
  • The low and high thresholds are fixed voltage levels around the mid voltage level or it can be either 10% and 90% respectively or 20% and 80% respectively. The percent levels are converted to absolute voltage levels at the time of measurement by calculating percentages from the difference between the starting voltage level and the final settled voltage level.
  • For an ideal square wave with 50% duty cycle, the rise time will be 0.For a symmetric triangular wave, this is reduced to just 50%.


  • The rise/fall definition is set on the meter to 10% and 90% based on the linear power in Watts. These points translate into the -10 dB and -0.5 dB points in log mode (10 log 0.1) and (10 log 0.9). The rise/fall time values of 10% and 90% are calculated based on an algorithm, which looks at the mean power above and below the 50% points of the rise/fall times. Click here to see more.

Path delay
  • Path delay is also known as pin to pin delay. It is the delay from the input pin of the cell to the output pin of the cell.

Net Delay (or wire delay)
  • The difference between the time a signal is first applied to the net and the time it reaches other devices connected to that net.
  • It is due to the finite resistance and capacitance of the net.It is also known as wire delay.
  • Wire delay =fn(Rnet , Cnet+Cpin)
Propagation delay
  • For any gate it is measured between 50% of input transition to the corresponding 50% of output transition.
  • This is the time required for a signal to propagate through a gate or net. For gates it is the time it takes for a event at the gate input to affect the gate output.
  • For net it is the delay between the time a signal is first applied to the net and the time it reaches other devices connected to that net.

  • It is taken as the average of rise time and fall time i.e. Tpd= (Tphl+Tplh)/2.


Phase delay
  • Same as insertion delay

Cell delay
  • For any gate it is measured between 50% of input transition to the corresponding 50% of output transition.

Intrinsic delay
  • Intrinsic delay is the delay internal to the gate. Input pin of the cell to output pin of the cell.
  • It is defined as the delay between an input and output pair of a cell, when a near zero slew is applied to the input pin and the output does not see any load condition.It is predominantly caused by the internal capacitance associated with its transistor.
  • This delay is largely independent of the size of the transistors forming the gate because increasing size of transistors increase internal capacitors.


Extrinsic delay
  • Same as wire delay, net delay, interconnect delay, flight time.
  • Extrinsic delay is the delay effect that associated to with interconnect. output pin of the cell to the input pin of the next cell.

Input delay
  • Input delay is the time at which the data arrives at the input pin of the block from external circuit with respect to reference clock.

Output delay
  • Output delay is time required by the external circuit before which the data has to arrive at the output pin of the block with respect to reference clock.

Exit delay
  • It is defined as the delay in the longest path (critical path) between clock pad input and an output. It determines the maximum operating frequency of the design.

Latency (pre/post cts)
  • Latency is the summation of the Source latency and the Network latency. Pre CTS estimated latency will be considered during the synthesis and after CTS propagated latency is considered.

Uncertainty (pre/post cts)
  • Uncertainty is the amount of skew and the variation in the arrival clock edge. Pre CTS uncertainty is clock skew and clock Jitter. After CTS we can have some margin of skew + Jitter.

Unateness
  • A function is said to be unate if the rise transition on the positive unate input variable causes the ouput to rise or no change and vice versa.
  • Negative unateness means cell output logic is inverted version of input logic. eg. In inverter having input A and output Y, Y is -ve unate w.r.to A. Positive unate means cell output logic is same as that of input.
  • These +ve ad -ve unateness are constraints defined in library file and are defined for output pin w.r.to some input pin.
  • A clock signal is positive unate if a rising edge at the clock source can only cause a rising edge at the register clock pin, and a falling edge at the clock source can only cause a falling edge at the register clock pin.
  • A clock signal is negative unate if a rising edge at the clock source can only cause a falling edge at the register clock pin, and a falling edge at the clock source can only cause a rising edge at the register clock pin. In other words, the clock signal is inverted.

  • A clock signal is not unate if the clock sense is ambiguous as a result of non-unate timing arcs in the clock path. For example, a clock that passes through an XOR gate is not unate because there are nonunate arcs in the gate. The clock sense could be either positive or negative, depending on the state of the other input to the XOR gate.

Jitter
  • The short-term variations of a signal with respect to its ideal position in time.
  • Jitter is the variation of the clock period from edge to edge. It can varry +/- jitter value.

  • From cycle to cycle the period and duty cycle can change slightly due to the clock generation circuitry. This can be modeled by adding uncertainty regions around the rising and falling edges of the clock waveform.


Sources of Jitter

Common sources of jitter include:

  • Internal circuitry of the phase-locked loop (PLL)
  • Random thermal noise from a crystal
  • Other resonating devices
  • Random mechanical noise from crystal vibration
  • Signal transmitters
  • Traces and cables
  • Connectors
  • Receivers
  • Click here to read more about jitter from Altera.


Skew
  • The difference in the arrival of clock signal at the clock pin of different flops.
  • Two types of skews are defined: Local skew and Global skew.

Local skew
  • The difference in the arrival of clock signal at the clock pin of related flops.
Global skew
  • The difference in the arrival of clock signal at the clock pin of non related flops.

  • Skew can be positive or negative.

  • When data and clock are routed in same direction then it is Positive skew.

  • When data and clock are routed in opposite then it is negative skew.

Recovery Time

  • Recovery specifies the minimum time that an asynchronous control input pin must be held stable after being de-asserted and before the next clock (active-edge) transition.

  • Recovery time specifies the time the inactive edge of the asynchronous signal has to arrive before the closing edge of the clock.

  • Recovery time is the minimum length of time an asynchronous control signal (eg.preset) must be stable before the next active clock edge. The recovery slack time calculation is similar to the clock setup slack time calculation, but it applies asynchronous control signals.

Equation 1:

  • Recovery Slack Time = Data Required Time – Data Arrival Time
  • Data Arrival Time = Launch Edge + Clock Network Delay to Source Register + Tclkq+ Register to Register Delay
  • Data Required Time = Latch Edge + Clock Network Delay to Destination Register =Tsetup

If the asynchronous control is not registered, equations shown in Equation 2 is used to calculate the recovery slack time.

Equation 2:

  • Recovery Slack Time = Data Required Time – Data Arrival Time
  • Data Arrival Time = Launch Edge + Maximum Input Delay + Port to Register Delay
  • Data Required Time = Latch Edge + Clock Network Delay to Destination Register Delay+Tsetup
  • If the asynchronous reset signal is from a port (device I/O), you must make an Input Maximum Delay assignment to the asynchronous reset pin to perform recovery analysis on that path.
Removal Time

  • Removal specifies the minimum time that an asynchronous control input pin must be held stable before being de-asserted and after the previous clock (active-edge) transition.
  • Removal time specifies the length of time the active phase of the asynchronous signal has to be held after the closing edge of clock.
  • Removal time is the minimum length of time an asynchronous control signal must be stable after the active clock edge. Calculation is similar to the clock hold slack calculation, but it applies asynchronous control signals. If the asynchronous control is registered, equations shown in Equation 3 is used to calculate the removal slack time.

  • If the recovery or removal minimum time requirement is violated, the output of the sequential cell becomes uncertain. The uncertainty can be caused by the value set by the resetbar signal or the value clocked into the sequential cell from the data input.


Equation 3

  • Removal Slack Time = Data Arrival Time – Data Required Time
  • Data Arrival Time = Launch Edge + Clock Network Delay to Source Register + Tclkq of Source Register + Register to Register Delay
  • Data Required Time = Latch Edge + Clock Network Delay to Destination Register + Thold
  • If the asynchronous control is not registered, equations shown in Equation 4 is used to calculate the removal slack time.

Equation 4

  • Removal Slack Time = Data Arrival Time – Data Required Time
  • Data Arrival Time = Launch Edge + Input Minimum Delay of Pin + Minimum Pin to Register Delay
  • Data Required Time = Latch Edge + Clock Network Delay to Destination Register +Thold
  • If the asynchronous reset signal is from a device pin, you must specify the Input Minimum Delay constraint to the asynchronous reset pin to perform a removal analysis on this path.

For more detail about recovery and removal time click here.

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