Over the past year interest in DFM has exploded in the semiconductor industry, and this despite the lack of a uniform working definition. The origin of this surge is shown to be related to three converging trends: increased design cost, shortened product lifetimes, and lower manufacturing yields for 130 nm technologies versus previous generations. A comparison to other industries reveals the distinct challenges attendant to semiconductor DFM and highlights the unique risks, which often necessitate non-intuitive solutions. Finally, the case is made to view DFM as a woven throughout the physical design flow, from cell design to mask data prep.

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