Keysight introduces PathWave ADS 2024 to accelerate 5G mmWave design and pioneer 6G development
Jun 16, 2023
- Electronic design automation software suite delivers unprecedented design capabilities for 5G and future 6G semiconductor chips powering next-generation wireless systems
- Next-generation solvers, application-aware meshing algorithms, and innovative circuit co-design and simulation approach speed 3D electromagnetic analysis
- RFPro enhancements streamline monolithic microwave integrated circuit and module workflows and increase circuit designer productivity with electromagnetic simulation
- Electrothermal simulation, signal modulation, and analysis capabilities improve performance for microwave power amplifier designs
SANTA ROSA, California – Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS) introduces PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS) 2024, an electronic design automation (EDA) software suite giving chip designers new millimeter wave (mmWave) and subterahertz (sub-THz) frequency capabilities that accelerate 5G mmWave product design and anticipate requirements for 6G wireless communications development.
Developers of 5G and non-terrestrial network components are creating next-generation radio front-end modules using mmWave frequency bands that present significant design and simulation challenges. These frequencies are prone to signal loss due to propagation characteristics, atmospheric attenuation, complex packaging issues, and noise and dynamic range problems. Designing for 6G poses even greater challenges with sub-THz signals operating at higher frequencies.
Monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMIC) and module designers are combining multiple semiconductor and III-V processes at mmWave frequencies, which requires multiple die assembly, module level interconnection, and power considerations. mmWave power amplifiers are built separately from the rest of the design to mitigate heat, yield, and semiconductor performance issues. In addition, power amplifiers developed in gallium nitride processes handle higher current densities than silicon.
New semiconductor packaging techniques, such as flip chip bonding, achieve higher densities and performance. These packages also require co-design across multiple technologies and processes because they concentrate challenges with internal crosstalk, electromagnetic interference (EMI), stability, and operating temperature.
The latest version of Keysight's industry-leading radio frequency and microwave (RF/uW) design software suite addresses these development pain points with algorithm, layout, electro-thermal, and workflow automation enhancements.
New PathWave ADS 2024 design capabilities include:
- Faster second-generation 3D-EM and 3D-Planar meshing and solvers – Delivers algorithm enhancements taking superior advantage of domain knowledge about microwave structures and processes. Mesh optimisation and layout and connectivity improvements reduce problem sizes for faster simulations. Solver enhancements also speed simulation by up to 10 times and require less specialised user expertise over a wider range of problems, including mmWave design at automotive radar frequencies of 79GHz. Open workflows save database management and reduce overhead from iterative, manual setup.
- Advanced layout and verification features – Enables design sign-off directly from ADS for LVS, LVL, DRC, and ERC for MMICs, as well as streamline productivity for module and multi-technology assembly. Wavetek is the latest foundry to fully support ADS for an end-to-end workflow.
- Electrothermal enhancements accelerate validation – Drives higher reliability and higher operating performance with validation of dynamic device operating temperatures under different bias and waveform conditions. Supports high-performance compute acceleration and up to 100 times transient speed-up using W3051E Electrothermal Dynamic Re-use, enabling higher test plan coverage and earlier insights in the design phase.
- Custom workflow support with expanded Python APIs – Increases flexibility and scalability. A load-pull data import utility, ANN modelling, and Python automation scripting for 5G power amplifier designers unlock new application potential to create targeted personalities of ADS.
Doug Jorgesen, Vice President of Applications, Marki Microwave, said: "We use PathWave ADS for our mmWave power amplifier designs because it is a complete integrated solution that gives us simulation models, layout tools, and the accuracy we need to ensure first pass success. ADS has a unique Winslow Probe stability analysis capability that enables us to optimise our amplifier designs with confidence. Our simulations closely match our lab measurements, so we avoid expensive prototype re-spins on our designs. ADS is our preferred tool for power amplifier design."
Joe Civello, PathWave ADS Product Manager at Keysight, said: "Traditional RF/uW EDA workflows involve a variety of specialised solvers that require database transfers, deep domain knowledge, and familiarity with multiple environments. We've added more speed and performance to ADS electromagnetic (EM) meshing and solving algorithms to improve sweeping coverage through parameters like process variations and layout effects. RFPro in PathWave ADS 2024 streamlines workflows into a unified circuit-EM co-design cockpit where circuit designers can now perform EM simulation to tune and optimise designs early in the development cycle. ADS supports multi-technology design and analysis of thermal, EM, and layout parasitics on circuits and signal modulation. It enables rapid assembly of circuits, MMICs, packaging, interconnects, and module layouts to significantly improve mmWave engineering productivity."