VSD Intern – DAC IP design using Sky130 PDKs – Part 1

Overview of DAC Theory, Circuit and project flow


The webinar aims to design a 10-bit potentiometric Digital to Analog Converter using end-to-end Open-source EDA tools. The target is to design 10-bit potentiometric DAC with 3.3v analog voltage, 1.8v digital voltage and 1 off-chip external voltage reference using sky130nm technology node.

In real world, most of the data available is in the form of analog in nature. We have two types of converters analog to digital converter and digital to analog converter. These two converting interfaces are essential to obtain the required operations of a processor to manipulate the data of digital electronic equipment and an analog electric equipment. Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) is a device that transforms digital data into an analog signal in order to interact with the real world. The digital signal is represented with a binary code, which is a combination of bits 0’s and 1’s. The digital data can be produced from a microprocessor, Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), or Application Specified Integrated Circuit (ASIC). There are two commonly used DAC conversions – Weighed resistors method and R-2R ladder network method. Applications of a DAC: audio amplifier, video encoder, display electronics, data acquisition systems, calibration, Digital potentiometer.

This webinar will cover

1) Overview of DAC

  • Why DAC?
  • Background and Principle of Operation.
  • Implementation Aspects and Challenges.
  • Evaluation Parameters.

2) Project Design Specs and DAC Circuit

  • Circuit Behaviour
  • Expected Input Output Characteristics.

3) Project Flow –Analog IP – Hands-on

  • Flow of Steps for Analog IP design.
  • Tools Required
  • Setup of Tools
  • Libraries Required
  • e) Setup and linking Libraries.

All the best and happy learning


  • Introduction and DAC Overview
    • Introduction to DAC Project and Application
    • Background and Principle of Operation
    • Reference Voltage Resolution and Linearity aspects of DAC
    • Monotonicity, settling time and speed of DAC
  • DAC Specs, Implementation aspects and Challenges
    • DAC architectures, applications, Decoding methods and switching network
    • DAC Non-linearity and output voltage level parameters
    • DAC Interface specs and Operating modes
    • DAC DNL and INL Specs
  • 10-bit DAC Implementation strategy
    • Fundamentals DAC circuit
    • 10-bit DAC Implementation strategy -  Divide and conquer
    • From 2-bit DAC to 10-bit DAC
  • Tool setup steps
    • Detailed steps to install latest NGSpice from scratch
    • Detailed steps to install and configure MAGIC with SKY130 PDKs
    • Detailed steps to install and configure Xshem with SKY130 PDKs
    • Simple Inverter Design Using Xschem And Sky130 Models to confirm tool install
    • Simple Pre-Layout Simulation Steps Using NGSpic
  • Conclusion

Audience Profile

  • Curious freshers looking to enter into analog and mixed-signal VLSI design
  • Beginner or Professional Physical Design Engineers looking to know more about IPs and Macros


  • VSD - Circuit Design and SPICE simulations
  • VSD - Custom Layout
  • VSD Intern - Bandgap IP Design

What you'll learn

  • Overview of DAC
  • Background and Principle of Operation
  • Implementation Aspects and Challenges
  • Evaluation Parameters
  • Expected Input Output Characteristics

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