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OEA International Announces Major Update to SPIRAL Inductor Synthesis Tool


Spiral Adds New Capabilities and Improves Performance

Morgan Hill, California - May 28, 2004. OEA International, Inc. announces major update to its popular SPIRAL[TM], a specialized 3D inductor design toolset for synthesizing embedded spiral inductors in analog and RF chips.  The new version of SPIRAL adds support for baluns (balanced inductors), differential inductors, and transformers. SPIRAL also adds features critical for 65nm and 90nm support by adding support for dummy metal fill and slotted wide metal support.   While SPIRAL simulation was already been extremely fast relative to other electromigration simulation tools, a new linear spice solver called 'panther' boosts performance by an order of magnitude drastically reducing total simulation time.   Also, a new DRC checker is now implemented assuring the GDSII layout conforms to the foundry DRC rules.   A new 'Monte-Carlo' analysis allows emulation of foundry variations to test all corners of the inductor performance.


Summary of New SPIRAL Features:

New Structures

  • Balun (Balanced Inductor), Differential Inductor, and Transformer design capability. These new structures support the latest trends in spiral design and provide space-saving alternatives for matched inductor and other advanced RF and high-performance analog applications. 

Support for 90nm and 65nm Technologies

  • Metal Slotting and Dummy Metal Fill.  New foundry CMP rules require that wide metals are slotted and open areas are filled with dummy metal to assure uniform metal densities which keeps the metal thicknesses as consistent as possible during the metal polishing step.

Full DRC Clean GDSII Layouts.

Besides the slotting and metal fill, SPIRAL adds Inductor ID layers, inductor port ID layers, and inductor hi-res shielding layers per a set of user-defined rules.  Then, using a new DRC rule set in the technology file, checks the metal, vias, and other layers for spacing, metal width, clearance, overlap, and other rules to assure it passes foundry DRC rules.


New Linear Solver for S-, Y- and Z-Parameter Generation.

A break-through in solver speed has been accomplished for solving linear circuits with full matrices of mutual inductors.  Standard commercial Spice solvers fail to converge or take forever when faced with inductive circuits.  A new solver called 'panther' handles these complex circuits in a fraction of the time allowing use in the Spiral optimization flow for complex baluns and transformers.


Monte Carlo Analysis.

Incorporating the effects of the foundry process variation provides the electrical parameter distributions of the generated inductors or baluns as a function of process variations (e.g. Q-factor, inductance, and resistance variation). This is an important design capability for assuring inductor, balun, or transformer design will meet the performance requirements of the circuit.


"Designing advanced inductors used to present significant challenge for RF designers. In a matter of minutes SPIRAL can find and synthesize an inductor optimally suited to the circuit requirements and be DRC clean. Often, a few minutes of using SPIRAL replaces what would otherwise have been days or weeks of effort by a person skilled in the use of electromagnetic simulation software," said Mike Xie, Engineering Manager at OEA International, Inc.  "The additional capabilities are specifically in areas that our customers have requested. "


By providing a simple set of performance and physical specifications, OEA's flagship inductor modeling software SPIRAL allows designers to automatically and quickly synthesize, analyze, and optimize a wide range of inductors, including baluns, differential inductors and transformers. In a matter of minutes SPIRAL can find and synthesize an inductor optimally suited to the users' specific circuit requirements. SPIRAL can be used in a batch mode, in an interactive mode through a robust graphical users interface, or seamlessly from within the Cadence DFII environment SPIRAL generates all of the user modeling needs including GDS2 layout; S-Parameters; Y-Parameters; Z-Parameters; plots of inductance, resistance and quality factor versus frequency; and narrow-band and wide-band compact spice models.  SPIRAL results have proven to be highly accurate for the processes tried to date proven through validation.


About OEA International

OEA International, Inc. was formed in 1988 to address demanding IC extraction problems.  The company has secured the extraction accuracy leadership role by working closely with major IC and system companies using the most modern process technologies available.  Through these relationships, the company has applied it 3D extraction expertise to provide a family of critical net design tools, signal integrity analysis tools, and RF component design tools.

RF/analog designers also have available RF-PASS[TM], a passive component analysis tool which ensures the most accurate models for on-chip resistors, capacitors, coil transformers and wind up/down inductors. For additional information call (408) 778-6747, or visit OEA online at .

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