Perugia, January 2013The design of modern radiofrequency integrated circuits on silicon, operating at microwave and millimeter-waves, requires the integration of spiral inductors and transformers. These are not commonly available in process design-kits.
One of the activities of the HFE-Lab (http://www.diei.unipg.it), University of Perugia – DIEI, Perugia, Italy, is the design of RF integrated circuits on silicon. After many years of experience in this area, it was necessary to lighten the work of the designers by automating repetitive processes which, although straightforward, are extremely time-consuming. For this reason, engineers in the HFE-Lab in collaboration with the RF Microelectronics Group, Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork (http://www.tyndall.ie), Cork, Ireland, have decided, once and for all, to spend time in programming.
The result of this work is MIDAS (Microwave Inductors Design Automation on Silicon), an auxiliary CAD tool. It is based on VBScripts, exploits commercial simulators and allows automatic design flow, including three-dimensional layout editing and electromagnetic simulations. MIDAS is designed for the automatic management of the design flow of passive elements integrated on silicon, working at microwaves and millimeter waves. MIDAS allows the designer to size, design and create microstrips, inductors and transformers. The design of these passive devices, in fact, is often assigned to the “manual” work of the designer and requires a large expenditure of human resources in terms of time.