Upgraded CAE Software Simulates RFIC Designs

Jan. 26, 2010
Version 4.4 of the GoldenGate software aids designers of mixed-signal RFICs with new stability and noise analysis capabilities as well as powerful yield analysis for optimizing a design and its production process.

Low-cost wireless products rely on the timely design and cost-effective production of radio-frequency integrated circuits (RFICs). To help that cause, Agilent Technologies has released version 4.4 of its GoldenGate RFIC simulation, verification, and analysis software with new capabilities in RF mixed-signal simulation. This latest version of the computer-aided-engineering (CAE) software supports stability and yield analysis as well as wireless-standardsbased virtual test-bench capabilities.

The GoldenGate software solution is designed to run within the Cadence Virtuoso design flow from Cadence Design Systems. In addition to GoldenGate, Agilent's RFIC EDA often involve a variety of other electronic-design-automation (EDA) tools from Agilent, including the firm's Momentum three-dimensional (3D) planar electromagnetic (EM) simulation software, the Ptolemy Wireless Test Benches for system-level verification of RFICs, and the company's popular Advanced Design System (ADS) and its Data Display capabilities (see figure). GoldenGate is fully compatible with Cadence IC5 and IC6 platforms.

According to Paul Colestock, Product Planning and Marketing Manager with Agilent's EEsof EDA organization, the software is designed to aid RF designers grappling with even the most complex RF mixed-signal architectures: "Advanced node RFIC design makes you rethink what's important from a simulation point of view. GoldenGate version 4.4 delivers improvements for just about every important aspect of RFIC design in advanced CMOS technology nodes."

On a standard PC with quad-core microprocessor and 32 GB of randomaccess memory (RAM), version 4.4 of GoldenGate runs with twice the processing speed of earlier versions for harmonic- balance (periodic-steady-state) analysis. The software can perform periodic steady-state based stability analysis for oscillators and other RF-driven circuits to check for instability when operating under large-signal conditions. In addition, it can check on the effects of different factors on yield at any stage in an RFIC design. This type of yield analysis is not possible with traditional Monte Carlo simulation methods.

While a variety of techniques, such as DC-based and small-signal S-parameter methods, can be used to perform smallsignal stability analysis, transient analysis is often used for large-signal stability analysis, even though this can result in long simulation times. To increase efficiency, GoldenGate 4.4 employs periodic steady-state stability analysis using harmonic balance and Nyquist and Eigenvalue stability analyses.

GoldenGate 4.4 improvements in wireless design include new wireless test benches tied to communications standards. Verification test bench libraries consist of appropriate simulator settings, standards-based or custom-modulated RF/baseband sources, baseband algorithmic data-processing sinks, and Data Display visualization templates. Over a dozen wireless verification libraries are available. Agilent Technologies, 5301 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95051; (877) 424-4536, (408) 345- 8886, FAX: (408) 345-8474, Internet: www.agilent.com.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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