The value of e (=2.718) is used to size up the widths in the cascade of inverters for driving large load capacitance with minimum delay

in Ch. 11. However, I have seen others use 3.59 as the ideal multiplication factor. Would you please comment?


Yes, letís look at the SPICE simulated delays of the buffers seen in Fig. 11.20 (A = e) from Ex. 11.8 and Fig. 11.21 (A = 8) from Ex. 11.9.


The hand calculations in these examples indicated that using an area value, A, of e should result in less delay than using a value of 8.

However, as seen above this isnít the case. We have the constraint that the number of inverters used is an integer which affects the

selection of A. Again, simulations are invaluable for estimating delay. Hand calculations only get the designer near a good design.


Okay, letís compare the above results to a buffer design using an area factor of 3.59 with N = 7. The value of 3.59 results from not

assuming that the first term in Eq. (11.25) is small, and thus negligible, when solving for N (more exact but more useful??? See

comments below.).


As can be seen we get a small reduction in delay using 3.59. However, letís see what happens if we reduce the last inverterís widths in

Fig. 11.21 by 4, that is, from 81,920/40,960 to 20,480/10240.


We get a much smaller buffer and even slightly less delay than when A = 3.59!


Why? As mentioned above we have a constraint to use an integer number of inverters. This affects the ideal selection of A. We can,

however, simply reduce the widths of the last inverter to compensate for this constraint (reducing the layout size without much change

in delay). In any case itís academic to focus on a specific optimum area factor for a buffer design since a wide range will give very

similar performances. Again, layout size is often an important factor.


So, why was e derived as the optimum A in Ch. 11? Why not derive 3.59? The derivation using e is clean and we arrive at equations,

e.g., Eq. (11.25), that can be directly applied to buffer design. Again, as mentioned in Ch. 11, small A values (say < 4) are rarely used

in buffer designs.


Additional Reading


Hedenstierna, N. and Jeppson, K. O., ďCMOS Circuit Speed and Buffer Optimization,Ē IEEE Trans. on CAD, Vol. CAD-6, No. 2, pp. 270-281, March 1987.