Cadence and UMC Certified mmWave Reference Flow Delivers First-Pass Silicon Success

Nov 29, 2022

UMC RF FDK and Cadence RF solution enable Gear Radio to achieve exceptional 5G RF design results

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CDNS) and United Microelectronics Corporation (NYSE: UMC; TWSE: 2303) (UMC) today announced that customers are adopting their certified mmWave reference flow and experiencing exceptional results. As a proof point, mutual customer, Gear Radio Electronics, Asia’s leading RF IP design firm, successfully taped out a low noise amplifier (LNA) IC on the first pass, leveraging UMC’s 28HPC+ process technology and the Cadence® RF solution.

UMC’s production-proven 28HPC+ solution is ideal for high-speed mmWave devices and provides silicon-accurate models for circuit applications up to 110GHz, such as Gear Radio’s LNA design. The Cadence Virtuoso® RF Solution, incorporating multiple electromagnetic (EM) solvers, enabled Gear Radio to achieve silicon-accurate results. More specifically, Gear Radio utilized the Cadence EMX® Planar 3D Solver, the industry’s gold standard electromagnetic simulator, to accurately model their CMOS design. This resulted in a significantly faster turnaround time between schematic design and post-layout simulation and verification.

Consequently, Gear Radio achieved a first-pass, silicon-accurate design faster than their previous design flow. When Gear Radio compared simulations with the measured silicon results for their 60GHz LNA, metrics such as S21 peak frequency, S21 peak value and noise figure (NF) were within the mid-single-digit range.

The certified mmWave reference flow offers several capabilities via Cadence tools, including:

Design capture and simulation via the Virtuoso Schematic Editor, Virtuoso ADE Explorer and Assembler, Spectre® X Simulator, Spectre AMS Designer and the Spectre RF Option

Layout implementation via the Virtuoso Layout Suite and Pegasus™ Verification System (PVS)

Parasitic extraction of transistor-level interconnects via the Quantus™ Extraction Solution

Electromagnetic analysis of interconnects across transistors, including passive RF structures via the EMX 3D Planar Solver

“Working closely with UMC, we enabled Gear Radio to achieve excellent results with our certified mmWave flow, which includes our industry-leading Virtuoso RF solution, featuring the EMX 3D Planar Solver,” said Ben Gu, vice president, R&D, of the Multiphysics System Analysis at Cadence. “Furthermore, the Cadence foundry team put forth an incredible effort to ensure that our innovative workflow, when deployed with UMC’s 28nm process, adds tremendous value to customers like Gear Radio. While this is Gear Radio’s first silicon-proven design, we look forward to working on many more successful projects together.”

“Simulation of electromagnetic models from EMX together with parasitic extraction information from the Cadence Quantus Extraction Solution, combined in a single, unified cell view within the Virtuoso RF solution, made post-layout simulations much more efficient,” said BJ Kuo, CEO of Gear Radio Electronics. “Moreover, the silicon data demonstrated proven accuracy with UMC’s mmWave models and the Cadence RF solution.”

“The comprehensive mmWave reference flow we developed with Cadence is making RF design faster and easier, and this is evident through customer successes like Gear Radio’s,” said Osbert Cheng, vice president of device technology development & design support at UMC. “Our collaboration with Cadence enabled Gear Radio to create an accurate, innovative LNA design where Gear Radio’s silicon data correlated closely to our models. We are eager to see even more customer successes with our mmWave platform.”

Cadence RF solutions support the Cadence Intelligent System Design™ Strategy, enabling SoC design excellence. Please visit www.cadence.com/go/rfsols28 to learn more about Cadence RF solutions. For more about UMC’s 28HPC+ process technology, please visit www.umc.com/en/Product/technologies/Detail/28nm.

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Cadence is a pivotal leader in electronic systems design, building upon more than 30 years of computational software expertise. The company applies its underlying Intelligent System Design strategy to deliver software, hardware and IP that turn design concepts into reality.