Advanced Integrated Circuit Design M ENG5309

  • Academic Session: 2016-17
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course provides advanced insight into custom IC design (with an emphasis on analogue circuits) and an in-depth exposure to industry standard IC design tools for industrially relevant systems, gained by application of these tools by students to real world problems.

The course will give special attention to the developing field of sensor interfaces and integration, of particular relevance to biomedical integrated circuit applications such as wearable health monitoring, neuro-prosthesis and tools for molecular analysis.

The course includes significant hands-on IC design experience of real life problems, using simulation tools and foundry specific data (PDK) in a way such that student teams can develop designs that could be fabricated.


Two sessions of two hours per week.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements


Recommended Entry Requirements

ENG4138 VLSI 4 or equivalent practical

Excluded Courses





70% final written examination

30% report and presentations on substantive practical design project, and assessment of quality of achieved designs

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the state of art in integrated circuit design (with a focus on underlying analogue circuit design), from the physical level through to the systems level. It will develop insight into underlying principles of integrated circuit design analysis, married to practical skills in modern semiconductor industry. Extensive practical usage of simulation software will make the students ready to tackle real world problems.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

Small signal analysis and transistor biasing

■ apply small signal models to the solution of complex circuits (e.g. cascodes, current conveyors);

■ construct pole-zero calculations using small signal models;

■ design circuits to bias transistors in the correct operating regime;


Fundamental circuit design blocks and their performance

■ perform noise, CMRR, PSRR, and non-linearity analyses for fundamental circuit blocks, including current mirrors (for low-voltage, wide swing application), amplifiers (2 stage, folded cascode, source degeneration etc.), bandgap references, switched capacitor networks, and Gm-C filters;

■ evaluate the benefits of specific circuit blocks to design solutions, given a range of non-orthogonal system specifications;

■ judge the efficacy of circuit layout techniques for better system performance;

Transistor scaling and its impact

■ summarize submicron analogue design issues;

■ explain short channel effects (including DIBL, velocity saturation, channel length modulation);

■ assess the importance of BSIM modelling in integrated circuit design;

■ argue the advantages and disadvantages of process corner and mismatch issues in IC design;

Subthreshold design and gm/Id design methodologies 

■ explain inversion coefficient (IC);

■ sketch transistor operation in subthreshold;

■ judge the pros/cons of operating fundamental analogue circuit blocks in subthreshold;

■ develop biasing circuits using the gm/Id design methodology;


Design examples (sensor interfaces and support circuits using industry CAD tools)

■ carry out a full specification driven design example using a real PDK;

■ optimise an IC design using industrial CAD tools (including the use of Monte Carlo and corner analysis, and the design of bias, decoupling, and guard rings);

■ evaluate system design quality using post-layout simulation tools.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must attend the degree examination and submit at least 75% by weight of the other components of the course's summative assessment.

Students must attend the timetabled practical classes.


Note that these are minimum requirements: good students will achieve far higher participation/submission rates.  Any student who misses an assessment or a significant number of classes because of illness or other good cause should report this by completing a MyCampus absence report.