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'Synthesis engines' roll out to speed up PLL designs

Posted: 14 May 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Barcelona design? synthesis engine? pll design? miro? phase locked loop?

Barcelona Design Inc. believes it has cracked the formula for the rapid design of PLL with the development of synthesis "engines" that will generate PLLs for 0.15?m, 0.13?m, and 90nm CMOS processes.

The devices can be optimized for low-jitter performance in a matter of hours, said Navraj Nandra, director of applications engineering at Barcelona.

A multi-year, multimillion-dollar agreement with Matsushita Electric Ind. Co. Ltd, announced last week, confirms Barcelona's ability to synthesize PLLs for applications. Under the terms of their agreement, Barcelona will port two of its synthesis engines to Matsushita's CMOS processes and will also supply several instances of PLL IP.

The Barcelona synthesis engines include a clock generator, named Miro, after the Spanish painter Joan Miro, and a topology platform, called Prado, after the Madrid art museum. As a builder of serial-ATA and digital video interface devices, Matsushita "consumes a large number of PLLs," Nandra said.

For these applications, the PLL inputs can vary from 1MHz to 25MHz and from 1MHz to 150MHz. On-board VCOs can range from 200MHz to 2GHz, Nandra said. A low-frequency PLL - useful for computer graphics, DVD screen synchronization, and mobile-phone displays - uses a 15kHz to 250kHz VCO.

The PLLs can be optimized for low jitter, low power consumption, and a wide range of operating frequencies, Nandra said. They are also tweaked to yield well over a variety of process, temperature and voltage corners. This will likely meet the majority of Matsushita's clock-generation and synchronization PLL requirements over the next several years, he claimed, and represents a radical change in how Matsushita creates PLLs for its system-on-chip projects.

"Why build an inventory if you can create fresh IP?" Nandra asked.

In a prepared statement, Yutaka Katabe, group manager of Matsushita's System LSI Technology Development Center, suggested that Barcelona's synthesis tools reduce PLL development time to a matter of hours. "It will have a major impact on our analog productivity, as well as the deployment of our designers to high-value projects," Katabe said.

Barcelona Design has shifted its emphasis over the years from online synthesis tools to analog IP and fields a catalog that includes op amps and RF circuits. The company was founded in 1999 and is financed by Sequoia Capital, Foundation Capital and Crosslink Capital.

- Stephan Ohr

EE Times

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