Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical Engineering (ENAS)

First Advisor

Manohar, Rajit


Asynchronous Very-Large-Scale-Integration (VLSI) integrated circuits have demonstrated many advantages over their synchronous counterparts, including low power consumption, elastic pipelining, robustness against manufacturing and temperature variations, etc. However, the lack of dedicated electronic design automation (EDA) tools, especially physical layout automation tools, largely limits the adoption of asynchronous circuits. Existing commercial placement tools are optimized for synchronous circuits, and require a standard cell library provided by semiconductor foundries to complete the physical design. The physical layouts of cells in this library have the same height to simplify the placement problem and the power distribution network. Although the standard cell methodology also works for asynchronous designs, the performance is inferior compared with counterparts designed using the full-custom design methodology. To tackle this challenge, we propose a gridded cell layout methodology for asynchronous circuits, in which the cell height and cell width can be any integer multiple of two grid values. The gridded cell approach combines the shape regularity of standard cells with the size flexibility of full-custom layouts. Therefore, this approach can achieve a better space utilization ratio and lower wire length for asynchronous designs. Experiments have shown that the gridded cell placement approach reduces area without impacting the routability. We have also used this placer to tape out a chip in a 65nm process technology, demonstrating that our placer generates design-rule clean results.