Unlocking the power: energy management open-source analog building blocks from concept to silicon-proven IP

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  • Speakers: Jorge Marin and Christian Rojas
  • Email: jorge.marin.ndez@gmail.com
  • Affiliation: Advanced Center for Electrical and Electronic Engineering (AC3E) at Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria, Valparaiso, Chile



The design and experimental verification of analog ICs have traditionally posed high entry barriers for professionals and researchers, particularly in countries with developing economies. In today's landscape, open-source computer-aided-design (CAD) tools and freely available process design kits (PDKs) have democratized access to design capabilities, enabling diverse stakeholders, including students, "makers," professionals, and researchers, to experience design in the context of manufacturable silicon technologies. Nevertheless, analog chip testing remains a demanding challenge for the open-source community, largely due to the high costs of laboratories and equipment. This talk focuses on our initial experience in crafting silicon-proven power ICs within the laboratories of AC3E in Valparaiso, Chile. We will demonstrate how the trajectory from conceiving problem-based design requirements to mastering novel tools culminates in the design and measurement of silicon test chips. We will showcase the effectiveness of open-source tools in unlocking the design process and facilitating analog workflows through automation. Additionally, we will discuss the development of a low-cost testing setup for evaluating energy management building blocks. This extensive journey has proven to be an invaluable source of learning for IC design education and the creation of a local ecosystem ultimately linked to academic research. We anticipate this experience to serve as the starting point for many other verified IP blocks to come.