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UMC says design methodology reduces simulation time

Posted: 18 Dec 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:umc? rf components? emdm methodology?

By providing detailed, foundry-specific modeling for RF components, United Microelectronics Corp. claims it can reduce electromagnetic simulation time from a matter of hours to minutes. The company's new Electromagnetic Design Methodology (EMDM) is aimed at customers designing RF CMOS ICs.

The methodology centers around a technology file that UMC developed for Ansoft Corp.'s HFSS 3D simulation software. This file contains process-specific information that allows customers to design RF components such as spiral inductors without going through wafer splits, measurement, data fitting and modeling, UMC said.

To support the methodology, UMC has created what it calls its "virtual inductor library." It uses real silicon measurement data and 3D EM simulation data to extract RF Spice models for inductors. With the resulting technology file, designers can try out their ideas and obtain s-parameters needed for circuit simulation.

"UMC demonstrated that a unique technology file can be extracted that will allow the tool to accurately simulate many different inductor designs," said a UMC spokesman. "So far, all the types that we tried can be simulated. We are in the process of laying out additional challenging structures to test the limits of this methodology."

A file contains input parameters for the HFSS simulator that describe UMC's back-end process. For customers who don't have Ansoft's HFSS tool, UMC will still supply more accurate models than are currently available, the spokesman said.

While the virtual inductor library provides the first example of the EMDM methodology, it can also extend to other kinds of elements such as transformers, transmission lines and chip packaging effects, according to UMC. The methodology will also be applied to signal-integrity analyses such as crosstalk and parasitic RC analysis.

"Our competitors could copy this idea using the same tools," the foundry's spokesman said. "However, they would need time to develop the idea and would need to have some experienced and talented engineers to execute it. In this respect we are way ahead."

- Richard Goering

EE Times

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