Continue to Site

Welcome to

Welcome to our site! is an international Electronics Discussion Forum focused on EDA software, circuits, schematics, books, theory, papers, asic, pld, 8051, DSP, Network, RF, Analog Design, PCB, Service Manuals... and a whole lot more! To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.

Tool(s) for computing and exporting geometry shapes from GDS+ITF

Not open for further replies.


Newbie level 2
Jan 2, 2013
Reaction score
Trophy points
Activity points
A unique and interesting problem:

I have a GDS file (and the ITF or ICT technology file). I want to decode and process that GDS to get a list of all the actual metal/dielectric shapes that actually get manufactured. What workflow and tools can do that?

I'm not even an EDA designer.. I'm actually a physicist and I'm hoping to use my own tools to analyze computer chip electrostatics using my own algorithms and code. To do that I need the 3D shapes that a design actually produces.

I understand that GDS itself can be parsed (there are libraries for this, or tools like Calibre can help), and the technology files can give me details about the layer thicknesses and positions for both metal and dielectrics. But the more I learn, the more I realize that these shapes aren't what get manufactured.. there's an entire (large!) set of operations that MODIFY the GDS structures using complex rules to include the effects of CMP, width adjustments from litho, automatic (implicit) metal fills, and implicit added air gaps. I can see a lot of these rules in the ITF file documentation, but those aren't enough for me to actually compute all those (dozens!) of complex effects and adjustments myself.

From reading, it seems like the fab DRC rulesets may include (custom) code to compute these perturbations (resizing wires, shifting boxes up and down for CMP, adding metal fills, etc). What tools do I need to take my GDS and ICT file and get these updated geometries? As a giant ASCII list of 3D metal boxes and dielectric boxes is fine.. I can deal with formats, but I don't know the WORKFLOW that can produce these shapes.

I suspect, but am not sure, that Calibre and Milkyway are two tools you can do this with... you load the GDS and somehow query the databases to spit out the modified chip geometry. (Maybe after giving them fab rulesets too?? I don't know.)

Googling didn't help too much (Calibre and Milkyway manuals aren't online), but I got the hint about rulesets from this board, so I am hoping someone can teach me some of these basics. I'm hoping the answer is something like "Calibre will do it all for you, just load in the data, run the fab ruleset, then there are export commands for the updated geometry."

Thanks much for any help!

Not open for further replies.

Part and Inventory Search

Welcome to