Tape Out refers to the final stage of a chip’s design process, which marks the end of the design and the beginning of production. The term originates from the early days of chip design, when magnetic tapes were used to transmit the chip’s final drawings to the fabricator.
During the tape out stage, the completed design is sent to a manufacturer who will create a photomask of the design that will be used to etch the circuitry onto silicon wafers. It is a critical stage in ensuring that the final product will work properly.
Tape Out is an arduous process that requires close collaboration between the design team and the fabricator. Designers have to ensure that their designs are manufacturable while fabricators have to ensure that the smallest details are accurate and precise.
What happens after tape out?
After tape out, the design team works with the manufacturer to create a prototype of the chip. The prototype is thoroughly tested for functionality and quality. If the prototype meets all the requirements, the design is sent into mass production.
Why is tape out important?
The tape out stage is crucial as it marks the end of design and the beginning of production. Any errors or issues that remain undetected at this stage can become enormously expensive to fix later on.
In conclusion, tape out is a critical stage in chip design that should be approached with great care and attention to detail. A successful tape out means a chip that is functional, efficient, and cost-effective.