Design

mmWave reference flow on 28HPC+ Process technology

24th July 2020
Alex Lynn

Cadence Design Systems and United Microelectronics Corporation have announced that the Cadence millimetre wave (mmWave) reference flow has achieved certification for UMC’s 28HPC+ process technology.

With this certification, mutual Cadence and UMC customers have access to an integrated RF design flow that accelerates time to market. The complete mmWave reference flow, based on UMC’s Foundry Design Kit (FDK), includes an actual demonstration circuit with a highly automated circuit design, layout, signoff and verification flow that provides more seamless design in 28HPC+.

The certified mmWave reference flow supports the Cadence Intelligent System Design strategy, which enables customers to achieve SoC design excellence.

High-frequency mmWave RF designs require accurate electromagnetic (EM) extraction and simulation analysis in addition to analogue and mixed-signal capabilities. The mmWave reference flow, based on the Cadence Virtuoso RF solution, brings together the schematic capture, layout implementation, parasitic extraction, EM analysis and RF circuit simulation, along with integrated layout versus schematic (LVS) and design rule checking (DRC) in a single flow.

This flow also incorporates EM analysis using the Cadence EMX Planar 3D Simulator and Cadence AWR AXIEM 3D Planar EM Analysis into the trusted Virtuoso and Spectre platforms, providing a high level of automation and the ability to analyse performance of RF circuits pre- and post-silicon.

The certified mmWave reference flow includes:

  • Design capture and simulation via the Virtuoso Schematic Editor, Virtuoso ADE Explorer and Assembler, Spectre X Simulator, Spectre AMS Designer and the Spectre RF Option
  • Layout implementation via the Virtuoso Layout Suite and Physical Verification System (PVS)
  • Parasitic extraction of transistor-level interconnects via the Quantus Extraction Solution
  • Electromagnetic analysis of interconnects across transistors including passive RF structures via the EMX or AWR AXIEM 3D Planar simulators

“Through our collaboration with UMC, our mutual customers can now take advantage of the most advanced features within the industry-leading Virtuoso and Spectre platforms while leveraging our EMX and AWR AXIEM integrated EM solvers for designing 5G, IoT and automotive applications,” said KT Moore, Vice President, Product Management in the Custom IC & PCB Group at Cadence. “This flow allows engineers using the UMC 28HPC+ process technology to more accurately predict circuit performance in silicon, which is critical for meeting productivity and time-to-market goals.”

With its AEC Q100 automotive grade-1 platform solution, UMC's production-proven 28HPC+ solution is able to serve a complete range of applications, from digital to mmWave. 28HPC+ utilises a high-performance High-k/Metal Gate stack, and UMC further extends its SPICE model coverage to 110GHz for mmWave in order to serve mobile phone, automotive/industrial radar and 5G FWA/CPE applications. Customers can leverage UMC's mmWave FDK to design a transceiver IC, or integrate the foundry’s well-established digital and analog IP to accelerate their mmWave SoC design.

“Leveraging the flow capabilities and the familiar Virtuoso design environment, customers can minimise iterations and deliver designs based on our 28nm technology much more efficiently.”

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