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Novel Solutions for Challenging Problems

SYMMIC Software

SYMMIC is a software package for design-stage thermal analysis of high-power RF components. The easy-to-use simulator facilitates detailed analysis of heating in Field Effect Transistors (FETs) and Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits (MMICs). Packaging of MMICs into radar and communication systems can be further analyzed to determine the impact of subsystem design on peak junction temperatures within individual FETs. SYMMIC is a transformative tool enabling transistor, circuit and packaging designers to obtain optimal performance and reliability in next-generation RF and power systems. Contact us for pricing and other details.

Why Templates?

Real device physics is complicated. Successful modeling and simulation is largely about what to leave out of a model of the real device. This is especially true at the design stage of the project when reasonably accurate but approximate simulations must be performed quickly to support the design iterations that are required to optimize performance. We believe this is best accomplished through the template framework.

The device template allows the designer to work with a simplified representation with just enough detail to obtain an accurate temperature distribution at the locations that most affect performance and reliability. As demonstrated in the Users Manual (Top-Down Analysis), sufficient detail can be included in a template to get accurate junction temperatures for high-electron mobility field-effect transistors in power amplifiers, but a template is not forced to have the same level of detail for other parts of the layout. Working directly from the CAD layout files, however, forces thermal simulations to process a lot more information, most of which is irrelevant to thermal analysis, slowing down the design process or forcing thermal performance to be ignored during the circuit design phase. The level of detail in a template can be tailored to the particular type of thermal analysis needed, such as including the individual gates in power amplifier FETs while simplifying other types of devices to rectangular heat sources.

The sophisticated, open-source, and fully-documented template format allows each engineering team to develop its own design kit for thermal analysis. Team members familiar with the thermal aspects of the manufacturing process (3D device structure, chip packaging, material properties, etc.) can easily create a family of device templates that will provide the circuit designers with high-fidelity finite element models that can be incorporated into their design process. Important features of the model can be parameterized inside the template. These design parameters are then exposed to the circuit designers through the SYMMIC user interface to allow temperature-aware design. For example, a FET could be parameterized by the number and width of the gates, gate-to-gate spacing, gate-to-drain distance, thickness of secondary metal layers, length of the field plate, heating profile as a function of field plate and gate voltage, and so on. Just about anything that is modifiable in the foundary process can be made adjustable in device templates. Circuit designers are then free to make the necessary tradeoffs to obtain optimal performance without needing new models or simulations from other team members expert in using general purpose finite-element software.

Published Examples of SYMMIC Use