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Posted: December 8, 2009

AFS RF Accurately Analyzes Nanometer-Scale Effects for Pre-Layout and Post-Layout RF Circuits

(Nanowerk News) Berkeley Design Automation, Inc., provider of the Analog FastSPICE™ unified circuit verification platform, today announced Analog FastSPICE RF (AFS RF), the industry’s first true SPICE accurate device noise analysis for RF circuits. Available immediately, AFS RF accurately analyzes nanometer-scale device noise impact for all types of pre-layout and post-layout circuits, ensuring early insight into its impact on performance, power, and area.
Prior to AFS RF, designers have had to use limited-spectrum RF tools that can only approximate device noise impact on RF circuits. Such approximations are increasingly inaccurate with decreasing process geometries, often becoming grossly inaccurate in nanometer-scale circuits. Particularly sensitive are circuits with sharp transitions (e.g., switched-capacitor filters, charge pumps, and dividers), high-frequency circuits (e.g., RF front-end blocks), and oscillators. Without accurate analysis, designers have to include expensive design margin or risk missing specifications in silicon.
Utilizing the industry’s first full-spectrum device noise analysis engine, Analog FastSPICE RF provides true SPICE accuracy every run. For complex circuits it is also 5 to 10 times faster than traditional RF tools that can only approximate device noise effects.
AFS RF key features include:
  • Device Noise Analysis Advisor (DNA Advisor) to characterize DNA requirements
  • High-capacity periodic steady state (PSS) for >100K-element post-layout circuits
  • Full-spectrum periodic noise analysis (pnoise) that provides true SPICE accuracy
  • Full-spectrum total oscillator device noise analysis with phase and amplitude noise
  • Harmonic balance (HB) for fast single-tone analysis of moderately nonlinear circuits
  • "We have been using the AFS Platform for the last two years for full-circuit transceiver verification and more recently transient noise analysis of our analog/RF blocks," said Alan Wong, Head of IC Design at Toumaz Technology. "AFS RF delivers full-spectrum periodic noise analysis, and does not trade off accuracy for performance. AFS RF allows us to analyse our pre-layout and post-layout RF blocks, delivering true SPICE accuracy and 5x-10x speed-up over traditional RF analysis tools."
    "Full-spectrum periodic noise analysis is critical for accurate characterization of device noise in nanometer analog/RF designs," said Dr. Boris Murmann, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and renowned mixed-signal design expert. "Without accurate device noise analysis, designers need to add significant margin to ensure performance. This can be very expensive. For example, adding just 0.5 bit of margin (3dB SNR) in a noise-limited circuit will double the required power."
    The Analog FastSPICE Platform (AFS Platform) is the industry’s only unified circuit verification platform for analog, mixed-signal, and RF design. It always delivers true SPICE accurate results, while providing 5x-20x higher performance than traditional SPICE, >10 million-element capacity, and the industry’s only comprehensive device noise analysis. The AFS Platform is a single executable that uses advanced algorithms and numerical analysis to rapidly solve the full-circuit matrix and original device equations without any shortcuts. The AFS Platform includes licenses for AFS Nano SPICE simulation, AFS circuit simulation, AFS Co-Simulation, AFS Transient Noise Analysis, and AFS RF Analysis.
    "Competitive analog, RF, and mixed-signal designs require pushing the limits of performance, power, area, and efficiency- and our customers tell us device noise in RF is becoming a killer,” said Ravi Subramanian, president and CEO of Berkeley Design Automation. “With the introduction of AFS RF, we are now proud to deliver the industry’s first full-spectrum periodic analysis technology for complex analog and RF circuits. Extensive validation of this breakthrough technology from our customers further reinforces our strong track-record in delivering silicon-accurate analysis and industry-best diagnostics for nanometer analog and RF designs.”
    About Berkeley Design Automation
    Berkeley Design Automation, Inc. (BDA) is the recognized leader in advanced analog, mixed-signal, and RF (AMS/RF) verification. The BDA Analog FastSPICE unified circuit verification platform (AFS Platform) combines the accuracy, performance, and capacity needed to verify GHz designs in nanometer-scale silicon. Over seventy companies, including 15 of the world's top 20 semiconductor companies, use the AFS Platform to efficiently verify AMS/RF circuits. Founded in 2003, the company has received several industry awards in recognition of its technology leadership and impact on the electronics industry. The company is privately held and backed by Woodside Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners, Panasonic Corporation, NTT Corporation, IT-Farm Corporation, and MUFJ Capital.
    Source: Berkeley Design Automation (press release)

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