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Hidden Cost of Circuit Design with RFETs

Sajjad Parvin; Chandan Jha; Frank Sill Torres; Rolf Drechsler
In: Design, Automation and Test in Europe Conference (DATE). Design, Automation & Test in Europe (DATE-2024), March 25-27, Valencia, Spain, 2024.


Reconfigurable Field Effect Transistors (RFETs) can be programmed on the fly to behave either as NMOS or PMOS. Digital circuit designs using RFETs have been shown to benefit both in design and security metrics compared to traditional FETs. In this paper, we highlight the problem associated with the cascading of RFET-based logic cells that have their Source(S)/Drain(D) terminals not connected to the supply Voltage(VDD)/Ground(GND). While these circuits occupy a lesser area, there is a drastic increase in the delay of these logic cells when they are cascaded as a result of the S/D being driven by inputs. We then discuss two methods to mitigate this issue using a) buffer insertion for delay minimization, and b) logic cells that have their S/D terminals driven by VDD/GND