Cadence University Program Member


SFU use Cadence Design Tools under licences supported by CMC Microsystems. SFU students, faculty, and technical support staff employ Cadence software for a variety of activities. Some people use it for their entire design flow, while others use only parts of it, e.g. for design verification.

At SFU microelectronics research is conducted in many areas including devices, analog circuits, digital circuits, VLSI systems, Computer Aided Design, Large-Area Layout, and micromachining. Interested faculty include: A. Parameswaran, L. Shannon, B. Bahreyni, R. Hobson, M. Syrzycki, G. Chapman, B. Gray, B. Kaminska, A. Leung, L. Trajkovic and M. Adachi .

Presently, Cadence software is used mainly for graduate and undergraduate thesis work and research projects. Some special undergraduate projects also expose students to the software. Undergraduate and Graduate students generally learn the design tools and digital flow in the following courses.

Undergraduate Courses


ENSC 400: Directed Studies on VLSI Design

Advanced strategies for digital design. Place and route techniques, floorplanning strategies, hierarchical place & route. Strategies for data-dependent power measurements and power measurements in variable voltage regimes.

ENSC 450: VLSI Systems Design

This course provides an introduction to the design of Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits and systems using mainly CMOS technology. It links computer architecture and design limitations with integrated circuit physical layout issues. Topics will include: CMOS technology and circuit layout rules;  stdcells design and characterization; Aspects of VLSI design including HDL synthesis, place and route, multi mode multi corner timing closure, Power analysis and Power Integrity; Methodologies for Low Power Design.

Graduate Courses


ENSC 852: Analog Integrated Circuits

Students learn about models for integrated circuit activity and passive devices and their implementation, computer aided design tools and their use in designing analog integrated circuits, and analysis of transistor amplifiers. The students will be required to do a project which involves the design, analysis, modeling and simulation of an analog integrated circuit.

ENSC 853: Digital Semiconductor Circuits and Devices

This course gives students a hands-on overview of digital integrated circuits and basic devices: Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (MOS) transistors and Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJTs). An overview of digital integrated circuits (ICs) families and technologies is followed by discussion of basic building blocks of digital ICs and design techniques. Students will learn various CAD tools in the VLSI Laboratory and use them for 2 Lab projects during the semester. The VLSI Lab provides practical experience in circuit simulation and layout design techniques. CMOS 0.35 micron technology will be used to complete most of Lab projects.

ENSC 854: Integrated Mircosensors and Actuators

Students learn microelectronic transducer principles, classification, fabrication and application areas. Silicon micromachining and its application to integrated microelectronic sensors and actuators. CMOS compatible micromachining, static, dynamic and kinematic microactuator fabrication. Integrated transducer system design and applications. Students will be required to complete a micromachining project in the microfabrication lab at ENSC

ENSC 891: Directed Studies on VLSI Design

Application of VLSI design techniques to the design of signal processing architectures. In particular, design of globally asynchronous systems, and application of Voltage scaling and substrate biasing to signal processing computation. Power measurement for embedded applications and power prediction in variable voltage regimes.

ENSC 895: Advanced VLSI Design

Introduction to advanced VLSI digital design Techniques, Systems-on-Chip and related industrial applications; this include advanced Systems-on-Chip design flow, implementation of embedded advanced microprocessor and DSPs, Low-Power design methodologies, on-chip communication patterns (Bus, Network-on-Chip); on-chip clock and power distribution, homogeneous  and heterogeneous single-chip Multi-core Systems,  I/O and storage methodologies and advanced packaging techniques.


In addition to those on the faculty pages, many Cadence Projects are listed on the following Research Group Site:

The Institute for Micromachine and Microfabrication Research (IMMR)

More particular information includes:

Professor Rick Hobson conducts research on several facets of the VLSI systems area including VLSI circuits (embedded processors, memories, arithmetic units, etc.), module generators, cell libraries, and CAD support. Interests in the computer design area include microprocessor design and parallel computer design. The main interest at the present time is to investigate low-power low-area approaches to wide adders. This research makes use of CAD tools by Cadence and Synopsys for simulation, synthesis, layout, and verification.

Professor Behreyni's research group conducts research on interface circuit design area for microsensing applications. Our research aims to propose multi-purpose readout architectures for different types of capacitive sensing systems. The main interest at the present time is to improve the power consumption of a readout circuit, sensing range, sensitivity, and minimum measureable capacitance. This work makes use of CAD tools by Cadence and Synopsys for simulation, analysis, layout, post-layout simulation and verification. Examples of developed circuits include low-power and high-sensing-range capacitive-to-voltage converter as well as capacitive-to-pulse-width converter circuits in CMOS 0.35μm AMS technology for humidity, proximity, and displacement microsensors. They can also be used in macro scale sensing applications such as a hand-gesture monitoring which can be applied in different consumer electronic products such as cell phones and laptops.



Dr. Behraad Bahreyni: Douglas R. Colton Medal for Research Excellence 2007
Dr. Bahreyni is an Assistant Professor in Mechatronics Systems Engineering at Simon Fraser University. He graduated from the University of Manitoba with his PhD degree in 2006 and received the Douglas R. Colton Medal from Dr. Doug Colton at the 2007 CMC Microsystems Annual Symposium. Dr. Behraad Bahreyni's research has led to a number of innovations, including the creation of unique frequency-based magnetic field sensors and self-driven MEMS oscillators.

Dr. Karim Karim: Douglas R. Colton Medal for Research Excellence 2003
Dr. Karim, a professor of University of Waterloo, previous a professor at SFU's School of Engineering Science, and a graduate of the University of Waterloo, performs research into the development of silicon semiconductor devices and circuits for large area imaging, display and solar applications. The 2003 Douglas R. Colton Medal for Research Excellence was awarded to Dr. Karim in recognition of research and collaborations which have had a significant positive impact on the large-scale sensor field and helped to advance microsystems into the realm of human health. Dr. Karim moved to Univerity of Waterloo, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2008.

Dr. Martin Drovak: Douglas R. Colton Medal for Research Excellence 2002
Dr. Martin Dvorak, graduate of Simon Fraser University, is presently an R&D Engineer in Santa Rosa, California, where he is contributing to the development of high performance indium phosphide heterojunction bipolar transistor integrated circuits (InP HBT ICs). The award was presented in recognition of Dr. Dvorak's exemplary research and development of the world's fastest bi-polar heterostructure transistor (as at May 2002) and his contribution to the development of technologies for heterostructure devices that will significantly improve Internet transmission rates. Dr. Dvorak did his research under Dr. C. Bolognesi at SFU.

Dr. Fabio Campi conducts research on VLSI systems including MultiCore and multi-many core signal processing architectures, Asynchronous on-chip communication, Low power design methodologies, networks-on-chip, Power Integrity & Power Analysis in IC. This research makes use of CAD tools by Cadence and Synopsys for stdCell design and characterization, synthesis, Place and Route, and Sign-Off procedures.


All SFU students and faculty must sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement with the university to obtain access to the technologies offered directly or indirectly through CMC Microsystems. Please contact the SFU CMC representative Behraad Bahreyni (bba19 AT sfu) to obtain the NDA forms.


Alex Girtonea is the Engineering Application Specialist and maintains Cadence.


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Last update on February 28, 2019 by ENSC IT Support.

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