Snaketech, a French IC design tool company, announced the formation of a U.S. subsidiary headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley, and named Tallis Blalack, Ph.D., chief scientist and vice president of U.S. operations. Dr. Blalack was previously with Stanford University, where he researched noise coupling integrated circuit (IC) substrates. In addition, Snaketech, founded in 1996, announced that it will focus its research and development on electronic design automation (EDA) tools for substrate modeling and noise analysis of RF, analog and mixed-signal IC designs.
"Substrate modeling and noise analysis are emerging problems," said Blalack. "Designers of high-performance RF and mixed-signal ICs are beginning to see their designs fail performance specifications due to substrate noise coupling.
According to market research firm Dataquest, mixed-signal ICs, with a 15% compound annual growth rate, are the fastest-growing segment of the microelectronics industry. Dataquest estimates the total available market for mixed-signal design software to be more than $500 million by 2001.
Substrate modeling and noise anlaysis is an emerging body of research. Substrate noise coupling is a phenomenon caused by transistors switching on and off at high frequencies in deep submicron ICs. Because such chips are only now coming out of the foundries, substrate noise coupling is a new problem that only a handful of engineers in the world have researched.