Variation-Aware Nanosystem Design Kit (NDK)

By Gage Hills

Stanford University



Published on


Carbon nanotube field-effect transistors (CNFETs) are promising candidates for building energy-efficient digital systems at highly scaled technology nodes. However, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are inherently subject to variations that reduce circuit yield, increase susceptibility to noise, and severely degrade their anticipated energy and speed benefits. Joint exploration and optimization of CNT processing options and CNFET circuit design are required to overcome this outstanding challenge. Unfortunately, existing approaches for such exploration and optimization are computationally expensive, and mostly rely on trial-and-error-based ad hoc techniques. Here, we present a framework that quickly evaluates the impact of CNT variations on circuit delay and noise margin, and systematically explores the large space of CNT processing options to derive optimized CNT processing and CNFET circuit design guidelines. We demonstrate that our framework: 1) runs over 100× faster than existing approaches and 2) accurately identifies the most important CNT processing parameters, together with CNFET circuit design parameters (e.g., for CNFET sizing and standard cell layouts), to minimize the impact of CNT variations on CNFET circuit speed with ≤5% energy cost, while simultaneously meeting circuit-level noise margin and yield constraints.


For more details on the Variation-Aware Nanosystem Design Kit, please see:

For additional information on connecting fundamental nanoscience to system-level applications, please see:

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Gage Hills (2015), "Variation-Aware Nanosystem Design Kit (NDK),"

    BibTex | EndNote