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In this paper we present a unified framework for prediction and estimation of the manufacturing yield of VLSI circuits. We formally introduce a number of yield measures that are useful both during the design process and during the manufacturing process. This framework is general enough to bridge the gap between the traditional concepts of parametric and catastrophic yield. We provide a classification of causes of yield loss which is essential for efficient yield estimation. Finally, we relate yield to manufacturing costs which provides a common denominator for the discussion of the manufacturing process efficiency.