Helic introduces unique new features in the VeloceRF™ toolset
December 13, 2004
The Spiral Wizard™ module within VeloceRF v1.4.2 can rapidly and efficiently deliver spirals “to-order”, tailored exactly to the designer’s requirements in inductance, operating frequency and quality factor. The design process is significantly simplified and accelerated, as it is disentangled from the use of pre-characterized inductor libraries. The Spiral Wizard features on-the-fly layout synthesis, under an extensive set of constraints that make it possible to optimize inductor quality factor, shrink silicon real estate and minimize surrounding interconnect. Available within both schematic and layout environments, the interface is highly intuitive and extremely fast – even for complex spiral types such as differential and transformer, the Spiral Wizard will generate a solution in a few seconds.
Designing and optimizing spiral inductors on silicon has been a painstaking and costly experience, one associated with consecutive silicon spins and several hours of wait with EM simulators. Moreover, the related effort cannot be ported to new silicon processes; moving to a new process with a different metal stack, minimum feature size and grid, means that any spiral optimized at the previous process node will most probably be off in the new one. Overdesign does not apply here; key spiral inductor properties such as quality factor and resonance frequency are largely dependent on parasitics, and these change irregularly between process nodes, especially in the sub-100nm region. Clearly, automated synthesis backed by a rapid, process-accurate modeling capability is key to harnessing the complexity and cost of development for cutting-edge RFIC.
The Spiral Wizard collectively addresses these problems, bringing a unique use model to the design flow. Its rapid execution and seamless user interface means the designer can synthesize spirals on the go, in the course of creating or optimizing a circuit in schematics or layout. No need to rely on or deal with porting legacy inductor libraries – new, optimized instances become readily available. Moreover, silicon area can be scaled down by exploiting the smaller feature size and lower parasitics of a new process; the tool takes it upon itself to produce the smallest spiral that satisfies the user constraints, has the lowest losses and operates safely below its resonance frequency. Additionally, to avoid long interconnect lines at inductor terminals – that would significantly alter the behavior of the final layout – the generated spirals can be designed to specific bridge orientation.
The Spiral Wizard is available within VeloceRF and leverages the unique design flow integration characteristics of the rapid EM modeling toolset. Further design benefits can be reaped by exploiting fast and accurate mutual inductance extraction and device-level verification; inductors synthesized by Spiral Wizard can be spaced tightly on the chip layout, leading to additional gains in silicon area and design productivity, while first-pass silicon success is facilitated.
Helic S.A. specializes in the development of disruptive EDA technologies and multi-standard silicon RF IP for wireless applications. Helic uniquely combines design tools and reconfigurable RF intellectual property (IP) to revolutionize the development of highly-integrated ICs and modules for multi-standard wireless applications. VeloceRF™ is a design tool that enables rapid, whole-chip RF modeling for RFICs and systems-in-package, introducing a radically new inductance-aware design flow. PolyRadio™ is a mix of novel RF IP blocks, enabling the integration of multiple wireless transceivers on a single piece of silicon.