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Industry News / Software & CAD

EDAFocus Archives

Preview and links to past EDAFocus articles, a monthly feature on RF/microwave design and manufacturing support software.

June 16, 2010
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October 2010

HSPICE Enhances Speed and Capacity

By David Vye, MWJ

Last month, Synopsys announced HSPICE® Precision Parallel (HPP) multi-threading technology would be a significant enhancement to the next release of the analog/mixed-signal circuit simulator HPICE 2010. The new capability, which utilizes a scalable multi-core engine, delivers up to 7X simulation speed-up for complex analog and mixed-signal designs. In addition to the new HPP technology, the HSPICE 2010 solution includes enhanced convergence algorithms, advanced analog analysis features and foundry-qualified support for process design kits (PDKs) that extend HSPICE gold-standard accuracy to the verification of complex circuits such as phase-locked loops, SERDES, data converters, high-precision custom digital and power management.

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September 2010

MathWorks Launches SimRF

By Pat Hindle, MWJ

MathWorks has launched SimRF, which provides a component library and circuit-envelope simulation engine for system-level design of RF communication systems. SimRF offers new circuit-envelope and harmonic balance simulation technology built on the Simscape platform for modeling RF system architectures. It provides a library of true-to-form multiport components and a simulation engine for designing RF systems, enabling architects to perform realistic, multifrequency simulations early in development and to make effective tradeoffs in designs that include digital and analog/RF components.

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August 2010

New MWO Library from Modelithics

By David Vye, MWJ

Modelithics, Inc.has released their latest version of their popular linear and non-linear device and system level component model Libraries. The Modelithics Library version 7.0 encompasses Modelithics popular CLR, NLT, and NLD Sub-Libraries™ and introduces our new System Level Component (SLC) sub-library to MWO users. All are available within one installer, providing increased efficiency and flexibility for our customers. This upgrade also introduces 32 new Global Models for passive RLC’s, and non-linear models for diode, switch, amplifier, and transistors - significantly increasing the number of well-documented, highly accurate and scalable measurement-based models available.

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July 2010

AWR iFilter Demo

By Mark Saffian, AWR

AWR’s new iFilter™ technology in Microwave Office® design suite helps engineers overcome these design challenges by providing a filter synthesis capability tightly integrated in the AWR Design Environment™. While iFilter includes both lumped and distributed filter synthesis, this article will focus on a distributed filter example. The example describes the use of iFilter to synthesize a hairpin bandpass filter with a target center frequency of 5.8GHz very close to required performance.

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June 2010

MiG’s WASP-NET Version 8.0

By David Vye, MWJ Editor

With greater emphasis on accuracy and the ability to meet tight specifications the necessity for microwave components and antennas to be optimized is becoming increasingly mission-critical, especially for modern satellite-based and wireless terrestrial communication applications. Such challenging optimization tasks demand rigorous electromagnetic (EM) CAD tools, which are accurate, flexible and, in particular, so efficient that the high number of optimization iterations that are commonly required can be carried out within reasonably short design times.

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May 2010

Pantheon's New HFSS Interface

By David Vye, MWJ Editor

While most RF engineers are familiar with EDA tools such as Microwave Office, ADS, Ansoft Designer or Genesys, their CAD co-workers are more reliant on PCB layout tools such as Pantheon from Intercept. PANTHEON RF bridges the divide between electrical design and board layout with an advanced PCB/Hybrid/RF design application that eases the RF and mixed-signal design process by providing options for a layout-driven design or a traditional schematic driven design with Mozaix, Intercept’s schematic capture application. The tools flexible design options include a library of RF models for use with bidirectional interfaces to Ansoft HFSS™, Agilent EEsof ADS, and Applied Wave Research Microwave Office®.

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April 2010

Real-Time Tuning of Interconnects Using Electromagnetic Simulation Data

By Changhua Wan, Senior Member, IEEE and Jian-X. Zheng, Member, IEEE

Since EM simulation may take time ranging from seconds to hours or even days, speeding up the simulation has been one of the major objectives of any EM software developers. Although IE3D, a commercial EM simulator from Zeland Software, is very fast, a faster scheme based on interpolation of real EM simulation data to generate ones at other dimensions is useful for interactive analysis and tuning in real time. The following flow represents the proposed process involving EM simulation and interpolation.

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March 2010

IBIS AMI Standard for Multi-gigabit Links

By Colin Warwick, Agilent Technologies

The frequency spectrum of today’s high speed digital signals extends into the microwave bands. Combating the effects that microwave engineers love (and which digital engineers dodged in college!) determines the success or failure of projects from telecoms and data center infrastructure, servers, PCs, and consumer electronics. In fact, for typical rise and fall times, the knee frequency (where the power starts to drop off rapidly) is 2.5 times the bit rate. At 10 gigabit/s you have to worry about frequency components at 25 GHz or even higher.

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February 2010

DesignCon 2010 Show Wrap-up

By David Vye, MWJ Editor

DesignCon 2010 took place this past week at the Santa Clara Convention Center. This industry-leading event included over 95 technical panels and paper sessions, an impressive line-up of keynote speakers and, of course, the exhibition. DesignCon, which is organized by the IEC, brings together electronic design experts to focus on topics that span chip, package, board and system domains, addressing common issues in signal integrity, power management, interconnection and design verification. While it is not a “microwave” show per se, many of the issues discussed are well understood by high-frequency electrical engineers. This fact is reflected in the number of microwave software vendors, test equipment providers and material manufacturers that are present. Listed below are some of the news items announced at the show.

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January 2010

HFSS' New Integral Equation Solver

By David Vye

The latest release of HFSS, 12.1, adds a new integral equation solver option - HFSS-IE. This new solver, capable of handling lossy material properties, uses a method of moments (MoM) technique to solve for the sources or currents on the surfaces of the conducting and dielectric objects. HFSS-IE is primarily effective for radiation and scattering studies of large, mostly conducting structures and is available in the industry standard HFSS interface; sharing geometry, material and certain critical solver technology such as adaptive meshing for automated accuracy. In addition one can link in the fields computed from an HFSS design in to an HFSS-IE model giving the user the best of both technologies.

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December 2009

Synopsys Pushes into RFICs

By David Vye, MWJ Editor

In September of 2008, Synopsys introduced Custom Designer™ based on the Galaxy Platform to provide a unified solution for custom and digital designs. The custom IC design environment was built natively on the OpenAccess database, which in turn, supports legacy designs and interoperable process design kits (PDKs). According to Paul Lo, senior vice president and general manager of the analog/mixed-signal group at Synopsys, [the company’s] “vision is to deliver the industry’s most productive and open custom implementation solution.” Supporting legacy designs and foundry certified PDKs circumvents one of the major roadblocks to adopting new tools from a different software vendor - that is, the potential disruption from not using a company’s legacy design information. Another major roadblock is maintaining the look and feel that users expect from their software interface (what users like) while adding new capabilities and automation (getting rid of any frustrating features with their current tools).

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December 2009

Accelerating Advanced Node CMOS RFIC Design

By David Vye, MWJ Editor

The majority of RFIC design (circuit entry, simulation control, post-processing, physical design and verification) is conducted within Cadence’s Analog Design Environment also known as Virtuoso, while circuit simulation is often addressed with some form of harmonic balance technique. Agilent Technologies, one of the leading providers of RF/microwave EDA has announced the latest release of its RFIC simulation, verification and analysis software -- GoldenGate version 4.4, an advanced RF simulation and analysis solution for integrated Silicon based mixed signal RFIC designs. GoldenGate performs both small and large signal analysis including DC, Transient, AC, Harmonic Balance, Noise, Envelope, Convolution, and Envelope Verilog-AMS co-simulation; replacing RFDE as Agilent’s RF simulator in the Cadence Analog Design Environment (ADE) supporting both IC5 and IC6 releases.

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November 2009

Case study of Urban Propagation

By Remcom

Wireless InSite® allows RF communications engineers to accurately analyze the impact of the physical environment on the performance of wireless communication systems. The software provides a broad range of site-specific predictions of propagation and communication channel characteristics in complex urban, indoor, rural and mixed path environments. Most of these results are derived from accurate solutions to the underlying EM wave propagation problem determined by the UTD (Uniform Theory of Diffraction) and FDTD (Finite Difference Time Domain) methods.

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October 2009

Mathworks releases NAG toolbox for Matlab

By David Vye, MWJ Editor

The Mathworks, makers of Matlab engineering software recently announced the release of the Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG) Toolbox for MATLAB. This is the largest and most comprehensive single numerical toolkit that both complements and enhances MATLAB. At Mark 22, the NAG Toolbox for MATLAB contains a whopping 1,415 functions that provide solutions to a vast range of mathematical and statistical problems. The functionality contained within this toolbox gives, for the first time, a ‘one-stop’ solution to your numerical computational needs.

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September 2009

HFSS Antenna Design Kit

By David Vye, MWJ Editor

The HFSS Antenna Design Kit is a stand-alone GUI-based utility which automates the geometry creation, solution setup, and post-processing reports for over 25 antenna elements. This tool allows antenna designers to efficiently analyze common antenna types using HFSS and also assists new users in learning to use HFSS for antenna design. The design kit can be integrated into the HFSS user interface or launched from the standard Windows menu. All antenna models created by the design kit are ready to simulate in HFSS

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