How to design in height (Z direction)?

Hi everyone. As you can understand I am completely new to IC design and have no education on the subject whatsoever. I am trying to teach myself.

Question: how to design on the Z axis? So ok, we can draw in X and Y direction , let’s say for example some nanometers of a P semiconductor. And we can use layers (like 1/0, 2/0 etc) so we know which part is on top of the other. But how can I design this semiconductor to be also specific nanometers in height? And then the other parts to be different nanometers in height?

I have also used the gds3xtrude Tool and everything always is represented flat. No height. And I think that it only shows a specific layer, not all of them together.

Thank you for your time


  • edited May 6


    Although semiconductor features are 3d finally, they are produced in a lithographic patterning process. This process is controlled by photomasks which are two-dimensional objects. Hence a semiconductor design is always done in multiple layers (often representing the photo masks), each of them being two-dimensional.

    Layout engineers are used to reading mask drawings and turning them into a 3d image in their imagination. Like you do when you read a geographic map with contour lines, but on a more abstract level.


  • Oh, so you usually send the 2D layout design to a foundry but you also say to them, „hey make this layer so much high and that layer so much high“ and so on. Then they put this data to their machine and this is how it’s done?

    Thanks for the info.
  • Well ... usually they say what they are going to do with it ... :)

Sign In or Register to comment.