Coventor MEMS design update enhances MEMS and IC integration

(October 13, 2010) — Coventor Inc., software supplier for developing micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), released the latest version of its MEMS+ design suite. The new release, MEMS + 2.0, includes tight integration and simulation within the widely used Simulink environment from MathWorks.

This support builds on the company’s existing integration with the Virtuoso IC design system from Cadence Design Systems (also enhanced in this release) to provide designers with an efficient, integrated environment for incorporating MEMS into traditional IC and system-on-chip (SoC) design methodologies.

In addition to the more unified and complete MEMS+IC design flow enabled by MEMS+, the latest release improves simulation performance within the Cadence environment and expands the library of 3D MEMS building blocks available to enable a wider variety of MEMS-based applications. Additional features in the tool’s user interface improve the ease of design creation and re-use within the product as well.

With the newest version of MEMS+, designers can use the same parameterized behavioral model created in the MEMS+ environment for simulations in both the Simulink and Cadence Virtuoso environments. MEMS engineers can now simulate their MEMS design in the familiar Simulink environment, optimize parameters, and hand off automatically generated behavioral models to their counterparts in the system architecture and IC design domains.

System architects can then easily incorporate MEMS in algorithmic-level simulations that span software, firmware, digital logic and analog circuits, while IC designers can incorporate MEMS in implementation-level simulations as well as physical design. Through the integration, all groups work from a single MEMS design representation in MEMS+. As with the Virtuoso integration there is no programming, just the creation of the MEMS design in the intuitive 3D user interface provided by MEMS+.

MEMS+ 2.0 includes an expanded version of Coventor’s extensive library of MEMS building blocks for accelerometers, gyroscopes, display mirrors, resonators, pressure sensors and RF switches. The 2.0 library version offers enhancements particularly for designing and simulating the flexible structures that occur in inertial sensors, microphones, and energy harvesting devices.

Traditionally, to support algorithmic design in Simulink as well as implementation-level design in Cadence Virtuoso, a MEMS designer would manually create and hand off separate behavioral models for MATLAB and Virtuoso. The process of keeping different models in sync with the evolving MEMS design is complex; it must be done manually and, to avoid errors, requires time-consuming re-validation of the models. The Coventor MEMS+ parametric design format provides a new standard that facilitates communication between the various tools in a complete IC flow. Using MEMS+ for design entry, MEMS designers can develop and maintain a single design source and automatically generate schematic symbols and simulation models for the Simulink and Cadence Virtuoso environments. In addition, MEMS+ can export 3D solid models for verification of the detailed MEMS behavior with finite element analysis. The single design source assures that all models are in sync.

“This an elegant way to connect and manage the very specific 3D design information required for MEMS design within Simulink, which can address behavioral modeling and functional correctness. Both MEMS designers and IC designers can benefit from this integration, with IC designers being shielded from the complexity of the physics of MEMS but still able to simulate them in the context of the system,” said Jim Tung , MathWorks Fellow. “Our goal with MEMS+ has always been to develop a structured methodology that is familiar to traditional IC designers and allow them to easily incorporate MEMS devices into their flows. This support for Simulink makes MEMS+ even more accessible to MEMS designers and adds an important system-level capability that extends the value of MEMS+ to the functional definition stage,” said Mike Jamiolkowski, CEO of Coventor.

The MEMS+ platform and the included library of parametric MEMS building blocks provides MEMS designers with the ability to perform custom parameterization of all design aspects, including variations due to the manufacturing process, ambient environment, or geometric dimensions of the design itself. Each parameter can be defined as a value, a variable, or an algebraic expression.

Designers can then import MEMS+ designs into Simulink or the Virtuoso Parts Library using a simple import interface. The MEMS system designer confirms the device performance by running simulations directly in the Simulink environment. All simulation results can be loaded back into the MEMS+ system and animated in the tool’s 3-D canvas.

MEMS+ Version 2.0 is available now on Windows 32- and 64-bit OS as well as Linux. It is available through the Coventor sales channel. Pricing begins at under $30,000.

The MEMS+ product suite anchors Coventor’s strategy for “bringing MEMS to the mainstream.” The strategy focuses on removing the traditional barriers to developing and integrating MEMS — time, cost, complexity — particularly for traditional IC designers not familiar with the nuances of MEMS. In addition to the MEMS+ platform itself, Coventor is working to enable a complete ecosystem for MEMS development through collaboration with foundries, complementary tool suppliers, IP and library developers, as well as fabless IC companies looking to leverage the MEMS opportunity. More information is available at http://www.coventor.com.

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