Keysight, Synopsys, Ansys Boost 4nm RFIC Design for TSMC’s Advanced Process


Keysight Technologies announced a new reference design flow for TSMC N4P RF, the silicon foundry’s most advanced 4 nanometer (nm) radio frequency (RF) FinFET process technology. The reference flow is based on the Synopsys Custom Design Family and integrates the Ansys multiphysics platforms, which provides a complete RF design solution for customers seeking an open RF design environment with higher predictive accuracy and productivity. It provides designers with a choice of best-in-class solutions and includes validated integrations with radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) design and interactive electromagnetic (EM) analysis tools from Keysight and signoff power integrity and EM modeling from Ansys.

Next-generation wireless systems feature higher bandwidth, more connected devices, lower latency, and broader coverage. Design complexity of RF integrated circuits used for wireless data transmission such as transceivers and RF front-end components continues to grow. Higher circuit frequencies, smaller feature sizes, and complex layout-dependent-effects make high speed design physics challenging, requiring more accurate and comprehensive modeling and simulation to achieve the highest performance and robust product reliability.

The TSMC 4nm RF design reference flow improves design turnaround time and layout productivity in the Synopsys Custom Compiler design and layout environment. Reference design flow certification includes rigorous validation of TSMC’s 4nm RF process design kit (PDK) using critical design components including sub-6 GHz low noise amplifiers (LNAs) and LC-tuned voltage-controlled oscillators (LC VCOs). The reference flow features industry-leading tools that enable efficient passive device synthesis, EM model extraction, thermal-aware electromigration analysis extended to include device metal, and post-layout extraction with correct handling of circuit under inductor (CUI) structures.

In addition to Synopsys Custom Compiler, the open, modern reference flow incorporates:

Golden signoff accuracy circuit simulation performance from Synopsys PrimeSim simulation tools and PrimeSim Reliability Environment, and signoff physical verification and extraction solutions from Synopsys IC Validator and Synopsys StarRC.

Ansys Totem provides thermal-aware signoff electromigration verification and power integrity analysis (EM/IR). RaptorX and Exalto provide signoff electromagnetic modeling, with unique CUI features enabling significant area and cost reductions of up to 50%. VeloceRF delivers fully automatic silicon layout synthesis for electromagnetic devices including multi-layer inductor spiral, baluns/transformers, and transmission lines to enable the highest circuit performance and accuracy.

Keysight PathWave ADS RFPro provides rapid, interactive EM-circuit co-simulation and analysis to find and fix layout-dependent-effects up front in the development cycle. PathWave RFIC design (GoldenGate) supports harmonic balance simulation in early chip design and verification process.

“Keysight, Synopsys, and Ansys have expanded their strategic technology collaboration with TSMC to deliver the next level in RF design for advanced 4nm RF technology,” said Niels Faché, vice president and general manager at Keysight EDA. “We’ve witnessed RF designers struggling to use older-generation solutions and flows that were never intended for today’s 5G/6G system-on-chip and RF subsystem designs. New layout-dependent-effects make detailed simulation and modeling that is signoff accurate a must-have. Other commercial tools and workflows do not always include these newest foundry requirements, and often lack the capacity to model modern analog designs with hundreds of coupled signal ports.”

“Synopsys, Ansys, and Keysight have harnessed decades of expertise in custom analog, RF, and multi-physics design to reduce risk and accelerate success for our mutual customers,” said Sanjay Bali, vice president strategy and product management EDA group at Synopsys. “Our latest collaboration with Ansys and Keysight on the new RF design reference flow supporting TSMC’s advanced 4nm process node provides an open and optimized flow that delivers exceptional quality-of-results for advanced 5G/6G wireless systems.”

“Multiphysics raises novel challenges for our customers to optimize power, area, reliability, and performance as RF frequencies climb into the millimeter wave and sub-THz range,” said John Lee, vice president and general manager, electronics, semiconductor, optics business at Ansys. “First-pass customer success depends upon applying best-in-class solutions across the design flow. In partnership with Keysight and Synopsys, Ansys is working closely with TSMC to make our industry-leading power integrity and electromagnetic modeling technology available in a custom design flow that responds to the needs of high-speed circuit designers.”