Cadence Design Systems, Inc. and NI has announced a broad-ranging collaboration to improve the overall semiconductor development and test process of next-generation wireless, automotive and mobile integrated circuits (ICs) and modules. To meet customers’ needs for a streamlined and comprehensive solution, Cadence and NI have pursued projects that integrate key design tool technologies into a common user environment to improve the design, analysis and testing of analogue, RF and digital ICs and system-in-package (SiP) modules spanning from pre-silicon design to volume production test. To further enhance RF development, Cadence has also launched the new Virtuoso RF Solution, which enables RF engineers to design, implement and analyse entire RF modules and RFICs from within the Virtuoso custom IC design platform.
The new Cadence Virtuoso RF solution and AXIEM 3D planar EM software integration
Traditionally, each major stage in the IC development process has operated in isolation supported by a unique and dedicated set of design tools, models, languages and data formats, which can cause design failures due to the manual translation of data between numerous disjointed tools. To address this issue and streamline the RFIC and RF module design flow, Cadence delivered the following capabilities within the new Virtuoso RF solution:
- RFIC and RF Module co-design: Provides a robust design environment enabling simultaneous editing of multiple ICs on a complex RF module while streamlining design to manufacturing tasks
- Single “golden” schematic: Offers schematic-driven layout implementation, EM analysis and simulation and physical verification checks of RFIC and RF module design through a single schematic source, reducing design failures
- Smart electromagnetic (EM) simulation interface: Includes an integration between the Cadence Sigrity PowerSI 3D EM Extraction Option and the Virtuoso RF Solution, which automates hours of manual work required to run critical passive component and interconnect EM simulations so users can run multiple in-design experiments
As part of the collaboration between the two companies, the Cadence interface has been extended to include an integration with the AXIEM 3D planar EM simulator, within the Cadence Virtuoso RF Solution design environment. The AXIEM software’s fast solver technology readily addresses passive structures, transmission lines, large planar antenna and patch array problems with more than 100,000 unknowns, providing the accuracy, capacity and speed engineers need to help them ensure design integrity upon the first attempt. It also incorporates NI’s proprietary full-wave planar Method of Moments (MoM) technology that enables discrete- and fast-frequency sweeps.
The integrated Cadence and NI EM solutions equip engineers with a variety of EM analysis methods for designing RFICs and RF modules.
Common semiconductor models
Compatible models are critical to ensuring correlated results across different simulation tools. Cadence and NI are jointly working to deliver common transistor models, ensuring consistent simulation behavior of gallium arsenide (GaAs), gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon transistor models between Microwave Office circuit design software and the Cadence Spectre simulation platform.
“With customers beginning to design the next generation of RF products for 5G, autonomous vehicles and other vertical markets, we saw a need to deliver a comprehensive RF solution that creates more efficiencies and drives innovation,” said Tom Beckley, senior vice president and general manager in the Custom IC & PCB Group at Cadence. “Based on the trusted Virtuoso custom IC design platform, the new Cadence Virtuoso RF Solution streamlines design and analysis for RFIC and RF modules. The collaboration between Cadence and NI and the integration of our tools can enable customers to seamlessly analyse and simulate their chip and package, reducing design cycle time and improving quality of results.”
“Our customers are continuously seeking new approaches to accelerate their product development cycles,” said Kevin Ilcisin, vice president of strategy and corporate development at NI. “The collaboration with Cadence allows us to embed our AXIEM 3D Planar EM software directly into the Virtuoso RF Solution, enabling customers to easily design analogue, mixed-signal, RFIC and RF modules.”
The new Virtuoso RF Solution with the integrated AXIEM 3D planar EM solver technology will be sold and supported exclusively by Cadence to leverage years of development and customer deployment expertise.