TriQuint Semiconductor has used AWR's AXIEM software to simulate an entire MMIC non-uniform distributed power amplifier (NDPA) on a quad-core PC with 4 Gbytes of RAM and a 32-bit operating system. It is the first time the company has been able to electromagnetically simulate an entire structure of this size on a desktop PC.

Electronic warfare (EW) systems require MMIC amplifiers that deliver high power over broad bandwidths with high efficiency, for which TriQuint’s NDPA approach is extremely well suited. However, designing these complex devices requires accurate EM data up to the fifth to seventh harmonic frequency, which results in a very large mesh/matrix of up to 32 ports and 30,000 unknowns. As a result, solving the entire structure has not been practical using available EM solvers.

However, AXIEM’s near-linear scaling allowed TriQuint to simulate the entire NDPA MMIC from DC to 120 GHz in under two minutes per frequency. The achievement was made possible by AXIEM’s shape pre-processor and hybrid adaptive meshing algorithms, which decreased the final mesh size to just over 6,000 unknowns. The MMIC demonstrates saturated RF output power of 9 to 15 W over a broad frequency range of 1.5 and 17 GHz with power-added efficiency greater than 20 percent.