There are many paper I see on IEEE website that claims they build their custom designed circuit on a CMOS process. Examples are 5.9GHz ring oscillator and 32-Gb/s serial link equalizer.

I know that IC fabrication can cost hugely based on chip area and have already seen this question which is very broad and targetting mostly digital world. So I wonder how much it cost for an analog circuit prototyping run on 90nm or 45nm CMOS process.

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    \$\begingroup\$ School's sometimes get access to tools and a shared wafer at no cost. Basically they throw everyone's design onto a single wafer as a courtesy. Probably to try and help students learn their tools/processes as well as help ensure there's more designers making it to companies that will likely use their fab services. \$\endgroup\$
    – horta
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 22:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @horta, wow... free of cost sounds to me like be in heaven. \$\endgroup\$
    – pazel1374
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 22:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ You'd need to be in a master's or phd program with a school that has a relationship with the foundry in order to gain access to such resources of course. \$\endgroup\$
    – horta
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 22:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ And at that, it'd only be possible as part of organized coursework or research. They wouldn't let a student just run off whatever they wanted for free. \$\endgroup\$
    – user39382
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


The cheapest way to get a small number of ICs is to use an Multi Project Wafer (MPW). For this contact Mosis or Europractice, there might be other organisation as well. These organisations collect the projects and take care of "running" the MPW at a Foundry.

Prices for CMOS, BiCMOS, 45nm and 90 nm can vary wildly.

I am unsure if there is any BiCMOS process with 45 nm CMOS.

I do believe there is a BiCMOS process with 90 nm CMOS, this used to be a process from IBM but this has been taken over by Globalfoundries.

I expect prices still to be above USD 10000, actual pricing depends on the process you choose, the process options you want and the size of your design.

But think at least USD 10000 but with "bells and whistles" up to and beyond USD 100000.

And then you might still have less than 100 actual dies.

Yes, custom IC design is expensive. The reason for this is mainly the cost of the masks needed to actually make the ICs.

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    \$\begingroup\$ By the way, you might hear the word "shuttle". That's a colloquial term for Multi Project Wafer. Some foundries run shuttles on a regular schedule. Shuttles for more popular processes run more frequently than shuttles for exotic processes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 0:07

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