Simulation for Microwave Designers

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RFPro displays electromagnetic meshes in a multi-technology RF module

Electronic design and simulation software for Radio Frequency and Microwave designers addresses increased product complexity

Keysight Technologies has introduced the new PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS) 2023, integrated design and simulation software that rapidly addresses increasing design complexity and higher frequencies in the radio frequency (RF) and microwave industry.

PathWave ADS 2023 includes enhancements to electromagnetic (EM) simulation and also streamlines integration of multi-technology circuit assembly and simulation into enterprise electronic design automation (EDA) design workflows. PathWave ADS 2023 enables RF and Microwave product development teams to easily address signal complexity, design densification, multi-technology integration and frequencies moving to 60GHz and beyond. As a result, companies can shorten time-to-market, improve engineering team productivity and deliver competitive designs.

“PathWave ADS 2023 directly addresses the needs of customers developing multi-technology high speed, high-frequency designs,” says Joe Civello, director of RF and Microwave Simulation at Keysight. “This software offers workflow and simulation performance improvements that accelerate the design and simulation process while delivering the analysis results necessary to ensure designs meet critical electrical and thermal performance requirements.”

RFPro Electromagnetic Simulation

Simulation performance enhancements in RFPro, the interactive EM simulator integrated with PathWave ADS, enable rapid design tuning and optimisation. New RFPro features include the automation of EM-circuit co-simulation setup, which ensures that analysis is easily accessible by circuit designers without the help of an EM expert or the need for invasive layout editing.

It also has advanced EM solvers and meshing technologies, which are accessible via a single unified environment with parallel simulation acceleration through cloud-based, high-performance computing (HPC) that supports fast, high-capacity simulation.

The software seamlessly integrates with Cadence Virtuoso, Synopsys Custom Compiler and Ansys HFSS.

RF and Microwave Development Environment

PathWave ADS 2023 development environment enhancements include the automation of 3D multi-technology assembly (SmartMount) for routing and verification of densely integrated RF modules.

It also provides for enhanced management of design databases containing complex multi-technology structures enabling correct simulation setup and traceability of designs and simulation data.

Python and Microsoft Visual Studio scripting, debugging, automation, processing, utilisation and visualisation of complex simulation and measurement data is included, providing the integration and insights needed to achieve optimal designs that meet multiple performance specifications.

Multi-Physics Simulation Technologies

Error Vector Magnitude (EVM) distortion specification is the new requirement when designing for digitally modulated signals in RF and microwave applications. PathWave ADS incorporates Keysight instrumentation algorithms for compact test signal generation and rapid EVM distortion calculations to deliver EVM simulation support for any modulated signals at the circuit level, enabling design tuning and optimisation.

Multi-physics simulation enhancements enable designers to accurately identify transient temperature rises to create reliable high-power RF components when deployed in the field to avoid costly premature failures.

It also enables designers to ensure power amplifier stability under all operating conditions. When used with RFPro EM visualization, designers can identify the physical locations and frequencies at which instability occurs to fix them before building hardware.

Designers can also compress what would normally require five days on a single machine into one day with cloud-based (HPC) to perform thorough simulation and optimisation that results in higher yield and reduced time to market.

According to Dr Xu Zhu, director of technology at Menlo Micro, PathWave ADS and RFPro provides an end-to-end design and simulation solution for MEMS module workflows.

“We rely on the PathWave ADS workflow to automate the development of our MEMS products from device wafer level to module integration with other components, as well as PCB design including MEMS device or module plus RF connectors. SmartMount makes integration of different technologies, such as flip-chip or wire bond, onto the module substrate and the PCB board as simple as stacking LEGO blocks,” says Zhu.

Jonathan Newell
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