Cadence and NI to Simplify Next-Generation Semiconductor and RF Development

Cadence Design Systems and National Instruments will be collaborating to improve the overall semiconductor development and test process of next-generation wireless, automotive and mobile integrated circuits (ICs) and modules. To meet customer needs for a streamlined and comprehensive solution, Cadence and NI have pursued projects that integrate key design tool technologies into a common user environment to improve the design, analysis and testing of analog, RF and digital ICs and system-in-package (SiP) modules spanning from pre-silicon design to volume production test. To further enhance RF development, Cadence has also launched the new Virtuoso RF Solution, which enables RF engineers to design, implement and analyze entire RF modules and RFICs from within the Virtuoso custom IC design platform.

Traditionally, each major stage in the IC development process has operated in isolation supported by a unique and dedicated set of design tools, models, languages and data formats, which can cause design failures due to the manual translation of data between numerous disjointed tools. To address this issue and streamline the RFIC and RF module design flow, Cadence delivered the following capabilities within the new Virtuoso RF solution:

  • RFIC and RF Module co-design: Provides a robust design environment enabling simultaneous editing of multiple ICs on a complex RF module while streamlining design to manufacturing tasks
  • Single “golden” schematic: Offers schematic-driven layout implementation, EM analysis and simulation and physical verification checks of RFIC and RF module design through a single schematic source, reducing design failures
  • Smart electromagnetic (EM) simulation interface: Includes an integration between the Cadence Sigrity PowerSI 3D EM Extraction Option and the Virtuoso RF Solution, which automates hours of manual work required to run critical passive component and interconnect EM simulations so users can run multiple in-design experiments

As part of the collaboration between the two companies, the Cadence interface has been extended to include an integration with the AXIEM 3D planar EM simulator, within the Cadence Virtuoso RF Solution design environment. The AXIEM software’s fast solver technology readily addresses passive structures, transmission lines, large planar antenna and patch array problems with more than 100,000 unknowns, providing the accuracy, capacity and speed engineers need to help them ensure design integrity upon the first attempt. It also incorporates NI’s proprietary full-wave planar Method of Moments (MoM) technology that enables discrete- and fast-frequency sweeps.

The integrated Cadence and NI EM solutions equip engineers with a variety of EM analysis methods for designing RFICs and RF modules.

Compatible models are critical to ensuring correlated results across different simulation tools. Cadence and NI are jointly working to deliver common transistor models, ensuring consistent simulation behavior of gallium arsenide (GaAs), gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon transistor models between Microwave Office circuit design software and the Cadence Spectre simulation platform.

The new Virtuoso RF Solution with the integrated AXIEM 3D planar EM solver technology will be sold and supported exclusively by Cadence to leverage years of development and customer deployment expertise. For more information, click here.