ELEC ENG 7051 - Digital Microelectronic Systems PG

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2024

Introduction to fabrication processes, design rules (revisited); Transistor models (revisited from third year electronics); Layout issues; ASIC design flow; VLSI design methodology and leaf cell design; Performance estimation of CMOS complex gates and interconnected modules using logical effort; Interconnect issues; Clock distribution; Design margin, reliability and scaling; Static and dynamic CMOS logic families and adders design; Memories - static and dynamic RAMS; Pseudon-NMOS and dynamic PLA; Low power design and system level consideration.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ELEC ENG 7051
    Course Digital Microelectronic Systems PG
    Coordinating Unit Electrical and Electronic Engineering
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible ELEC ENG 4053, ELEC ENG 3109, ELEC ENG 4109
    Assumed Knowledge Linear circuit analysis techniques, operation & characteristic of field effect transistor, binary numbers representation, digital arithmetic operation using binary system
    Assessment Written exam, test, computer labs, major project work
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Said Al-Sarawi

    Course Coordinator and Lecturer: Dr Said Al-Sarawi
    Office: Ingkarni Wardli 3.39
    Phone:8313 4198
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Explain CMOS technology fabrication and device characteristics and parasitic effects
    2 Design digital logic gates and standard cells at transistor schematic and corresponding layouts level in CMOS technology using pseudo-nMOS, pass transistor, footed and footless domino logic families.
    3 Explain and evaluate the effect of the parasitic and loading on CMOS circuit operation and performance in terms of size, area and noise margin and ways to minimise delay.
    4 Model the effect of interconnect upon a design and to apply strategies to mitigate problems arising from interconnect loading.
    5 Explain the function of CMOS memory circuits and design basic CMOS ROM and PLA circuits.
    6 Explain factors that influence circuit reliability and be able to apply reasonable design margins.
    7 Explain the effect of scaling on circuit behaviour and appreciate technology trends with respect to scaling.
    8 Explain system level considerations such as floor planning, power dissipation, clock skew and micro-architecture to system performance.
    9 Use a set of software tools to specify, synthesise, layout and simulate microelectronic circuits.
    10 Demonstrate team work to design of a major digital system module

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Entry to Practice Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer. The course develops the following EA Elements of Competency to levels of introductory (A), intermediate (B), advanced (C):  

    C C C B B A C C C B B B B B B B
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Neil H. E. Weste & David Harris, “CMOS VLSI design: a circuits and systems perspective,” Addison Wesley, 3rd edition, 2004.

    Reference Books:
    Rabaey, Chandrakasan & Nikolil, “Digital Integrated Circuits,” Prentice Hall, 2nd edition, 2003.

    A set of course notes, practice problems and other supporting materials will also be available for downloading from the course web site.
    Online Learning
    Extensive use will be made of the MyUni web site for this course,

    Course notes, tutorial problems and solutions, laboratory exercises and practice problems will all be available for downloading from the web site.  Where the lecture theatre facilities permit, audio or video recordings of lectures will also be available for downloading.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course relies on lectures as the primary delivery mechanism for the material. Tutorials supplement the lectures by providing exercises and example problems to enhance the understanding obtained through lectures. Practicals are used to provide hands-on experience for students to reinforce the theoretical concepts encountered in lectures. Continuous assessment activities provide the formative assessment opportunities for students to gauge their progress and understanding.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.


    Contact Hours

    Workload Hours


    24 Lectures




    6 Tutorials




    Computer Lab 1




    Computer Lab 2




    Computer Lab 3




    Computer Lab 4



    Tests 1 & 2

    Theory part of the course




    All Theory Part








    Learning Activities Summary
    Lectures Activity Session No. Week No of Lectures
    Introduction to the course and presentation of prac structure 1&2 1 2
    Introduction to fabrication processes, design rules (revisted). Transistor models (revisited from third year electronics) and layout issues and ASIC design flow 2&3 2 2
    VLSI design methodology and leaf cell design 4&5 3 2
    Performance estimation of CMOS complex gates and  interconnected modules using logical effort 6-13 4-7 8
    Interconnect issues, clock distribution, design margin, reliability and scaling 14-17 8,9 4
    Static and dynamic CMOS logic families and adders design 18,19,20 10,11 2
    Memory structures and operation 21,22 11,12 2
    Low power design and system level consideration 23-24 12 2
    Tutorials Activity Sessions Week Topic
    Demonstrating the design of CMOS gates and transistor sizing 1 2 Tutorial 1
    CMOS circuits layout and delay estimation 2 4 Tutorial 2
    CMOS circuits delay estimation using logical effort 3 6 Tutorial 3
    Delay path estimation using logical effort 4 8 Tutorial 4
    Delay and crosstalk in interconnects 5 10 Tutorial 5
    PLA and memory Design 6 12 Tutorial 6

    Note that practical classes begin in week 1 of the semester and run in odd weeks.  Students must attend their allocated practical class, when further instructions on the operation of the laboratory session will be provided.  Students should be aware of the Occupational Health and Safety issues associated with working in a laboratory environment.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Individual / Group Due (week)* Weighting Hurdle Criteria Learning Outcome
    Computer Lab 1 Diagnostic Individual 1 - 3 2% 2, 3, 9
    Computer Lab 2 Diagnostic Individual 4 - 6 3% 2, 3, 9
    Computer Lab 3 Diagnostic Individual 7 - 8 5% 2, 3, 4, 9
    Computer Lab 4 Summataive Group 9 - 13 25% 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10
    Tutorials Formative Individual 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11 10% 1 - 8
    Test 1 Formative Individual 7 5% 1 - 8
    Test 2 Formative Individual 12 5% 1 - 8
    Exam Summative Individual Exam period 45% min 40% 1 - 8

    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.
    This course has a hurdle requirement. Meeting the specified hurdle criteria is a requirement for passing the course.

    Online Tutorials:
    Tutorials will be assessed and are worth 10% of the total assessment. The rationale behind this
    is to reduce the weighing of the final Exam and use that as a continuous assessment. The aim of this approach is to reduce the pressure that some students may face when it come the final exam.

    The practicals will be run in the computer labs. So, there is a need to attend these sessions to effectively use these labs, unless an unforeseen issue arises due to COVID-19, this arrangement might change. 

    Online Tests: 
    The tests assessment will run online. A number of questions will be provided to you through MyUni and you will be required to provide online answers to these questions, some of these might be numerical or require working, so you will also be required to submit your working by taking an image/scan of your work and do the submission online. Please get used for this form of  interaction as this will also be used for the final examination.

    Online Exam:
    The plan for examinations is to be online, unless unforeseen issues arise that will require us to deviate from this approach. Again, similar to the tests, students will be required to submit scanned copies of their worked solutions during a timed session. The details for that will be provided in due date.

    Assessment Detail
    The examination is a hurdle requirement. It is necessary to achieve at least 40% in the exam.  If this is not achieved, the total course mark will be limited to a maximum of 49.

    A hurdle requirement is defined by the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs policy as "...an assessment task mandating a minimum level of performance as a condition of passing the course.If a student fails to meet a hurdle requirement (normally no less than 40%),and is assigned a total mark for the course in the range of 45-49, then the student is entitled to an offer of additional assessment of some type. The type of assessment is to be decided by the School Assessment Review Committee when determining final results. The student’s final total mark will be entered at no more than 49% and the offer of an additional assessment will be specified eg. US01. Once the additional assessment has been completed, this mark will be included in the calculation of the total mark for the course and the better of the two results will apply. Note however that the maximum final result for a course in which a student has sat an additional assessment will be a “50 Pass”.

    If a student is unable to meet a hurdle requirement related to an assessment piece (may be throughout semester or at semester’s end) due to medical or compassionate circumstances beyond their control, then the student is entitled to an offer of replacement assessment of some type. An interim result of RP will be entered for the student, and the student will be notified of the offer of a replacement assessment.  Once the replacement assessment has been completed, the result of that assessment will be included in the calculation of the total mark for the course.An assessment of work done during the lab will be conducted at the end of each lab session.
    Submission will be through MyUni and information on the process will be provided for each assignment in due course.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.