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Agilent adds MMIC, simulation features to EDA tool

Posted: 05 Feb 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:agilent technologies? advanced design system? eda tool set? monolithic microwave ic? automatic verification modeling?

Agilent Technologies Inc. is preparing a new version of its Advanced Design System EDA toolset with features supporting monolithic microwave IC (MMIC) design and an automatic verification modeling capability that speeds circuit/system co-simulation.

Agilent spent quite a bit of time working to accelerate co-simulation capabilities when developing the latest version of the tool, dubbed ADS 2003A, said ADS platform manager Joe Civello. Some system verification tasks, such as BER, can take days on complex wireless systems, for example. To speed this process, Agilent extracted a behavioral model during the circuit simulation stage so that complex analysis tasks, such as BER and ACLR, can be performed faster.

When enabled, the verification modeling feature allows a simulator to automatically characterize the nonlinear I/O relationship of an analog circuit at the start of a Ptolemy simulation by internally doing a swept amplitude harmonic balance analysis.

Additionally, if requested, the simulator will perform a small signal mixer frequency sweep to determine what frequency response exists over the envelope bandwidth. If the envelope noise mode has been enabled, the simulator will also perform a nonlinear analysis at the input carrier frequency.

All of the information collected by the simulator is stored in a data set. During the remainder of the sweep, information from the data set is used to predict what the outputs of the circuit could be if the actual circuit envelope simulation has been performed.

Thus, the actual circuit simulation does not need to be redone at each time point in a sweep, allowing the sweep to proceed more quickly. According to Civello, designers can receive a one-hundredfold improvement in speed during the simulation process by using the automatic verification modeling feature.

Improved flow

Agilent also wanted to improve the front-to-back flow for MMIC developers, Civello said. To this end, Agilent added a layout versus schematic (LVS) capabilities, upgraded the ADS advanced model composer tool, and added new wireless design guides to the package.

Design engineers traditionally turn to third-party tools to compare netlists from a layout against the original MMIC schematic. By integrating a connectivity checker into ADS 2003A, designers can perform LVS within ADS. "ADS 2003A provides a lot of the LVS functionality a MMIC designer needs, without the added effort of exporting netlists to an external LVS tool," said Civello.

Agilent has also upgraded its advanced model composer tool. Through the tool, designers can create accurate electromagnetic models of components based on customer substrates and foundry processes. While the initial implementation supported the generation of models for standard shapes, ADS 2003A supports the development of arbitrary shapes, said Civello.

New design guides in ADS 2003A support the building of 802.11b wireless LAN and time-division synchronous CDMA components.

ADS 2003A will be available in May at prices starting at approximately $8,400. The MMIC designer option will be offered at $55,000 while the advanced model composer will cost $20,000.

- Robert Keenan

EE Times

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