Cadence Design Systems, Inc and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) announced that customers are adopting their certified mmWave reference flow and experiencing exceptional results. As a proof point, mutual customer, Gear Radio Electronics, Asia’s leading RF IP design firm, successfully taped out a low noise amplifier (LNA) IC on the first pass, leveraging UMC’s 28HPC+ process technology and the Cadence® RF solution.

UMC’s production-proven 28HPC+ solution is ideal for high speed mmWave devices and provides Si-accurate models for circuit applications up to 110 GHz, such as Gear Radio’s LNA design. The Cadence Virtuoso® RF Solution, incorporating multiple electromagnetic (EM) solvers, enabled Gear Radio to achieve Si-accurate results. More specifically, Gear Radio utilized the Cadence EMX® Planar 3D Solver, the industry’s gold standard electromagnetic simulator, to accurately model their CMOS design. This resulted in a significantly faster turnaround time between schematic design and post-layout simulation and verification.

Consequently, Gear Radio achieved a first-pass, Si-accurate design faster than their previous design flow. When Gear Radio compared simulations with the measured Si results for their 60 GHz LNA, metrics such as S21 peak frequency, S21 peak value and noise figure were within the mid-single-digit range.

The certified mmWave reference flow offers several capabilities via Cadence tools, including:

  • Design capture and simulation via the Virtuoso Schematic Editor, Virtuoso ADE Explorer and Assembler, Spectre® X Simulator, Spectre AMS Designer and the Spectre RF Option
  • Layout implementation via the Virtuoso Layout Suite and Pegasus™ Verification System (PVS)
  • Parasitic extraction of transistor-level interconnects via the Quantus™ Extraction Solution
  • Electromagnetic analysis of interconnects across transistors, including passive RF structures via the EMX 3D Planar Solver.

“Working closely with UMC, we enabled Gear Radio to achieve excellent results with our certified mmWave flow, which includes our industry-leading Virtuoso RF solution, featuring the EMX 3D Planar Solver,” said Ben Gu, vice president, R&D, of the Multiphysics System Analysis at Cadence. “Furthermore, the Cadence foundry team put forth an incredible effort to ensure that our innovative workflow, when deployed with UMC’s 28 nm process, adds tremendous value to customers like Gear Radio. While this is Gear Radio’s first Si-proven design, we look forward to working on many more successful projects together.”

“Simulation of electromagnetic models from EMX together with parasitic extraction information from the Cadence Quantus Extraction Solution, combined in a single, unified cell view within the Virtuoso RF solution, made post-layout simulations much more efficient,” said BJ Kuo, CEO of Gear Radio Electronics. “Moreover, the Si data demonstrated proven accuracy with UMC’s mmWave models and the Cadence RF solution.”

“The comprehensive mmWave reference flow we developed with Cadence is making RF design faster and easier, and this is evident through customer successes like Gear Radio’s,” said Osbert Cheng, vice president of device technology development and design support at UMC. “Our collaboration with Cadence enabled Gear Radio to create an accurate, innovative LNA design where Gear Radio’s Si data correlated closely to our models. We are eager to see even more customer successes with our mmWave platform.”