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Coventor’s MEMS+ 6.0 Enables MEMS/IoT Integration

Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor

In thinking about the architecture and functioning of the IoT, I came to represent it as a nervous system.  Commands and data flow through the architecture of IoT while computations are performed at the appropriate location in the system.  The end terminal points of IoT, just like in the human nervous system function as the interface with the outside world.  MEMS are indispensable to the proper functioning of the interface, yet, as focused as we are on electronics, we seldom give prominence to MEMS when the IoT is discussed in EDA circles.

Coventor, Inc., a leading supplier of MEMS design automation solutions, introduced MEMS+ 6.0, the latest version of its MEMS design platform.   The tool is available immediately.  MEMS+ 6.0 is a significant advance toward a MEMS design automation flow that complements the well-established CMOS design flow, enabling faster integration of MEMS with electronics and packaging.  MEMS+ 6.0 features new enablement of MEMS process design kits (PDKs) and second-generation model reduction capabilities.

“The fast growing Internet of Things market will increasingly require customization of MEMS sensors and customized package-level integration to achieve lower power, higher performance, smaller form factors, and lower costs,” said Dr. Stephen R. Breit, Vice President of Engineering at Coventor.  “MEMS+6.0 is focused on enabling rapid customization and integration of MEMS while enforcing design rules and technology constraints.”

With MEMS+ 6.0, users can create a technology-defined component library that imposes technology constraints and design rules during design entry, resulting in a “correct-by-construction” methodology. This new approach reduces design errors and enables MEMS foundries to offer MEMS Process Design Kits (PDKs) to fabless MEMS designers. Both parties will benefit, with submitted designs having fewer errors, and ultimately fewer design spins and fab cycles required to bring new and derivative products to market.

“We have collaborated with Coventor in defining the requirements for MEMS PDKs for MEMS+,” said Joerg Doblaski, Director of Design Support at X-FAB Semiconductor Foundries. “We see the new capabilities in MEMS+ 6.0 as a big step toward a robust MEMS design automation flow that will reduce time to market for fabless MEMS developers and their foundry partners.”

MEMS+6.0 also includes a second-generation model reduction capability with export to MathWorks Simulink as well as the Verilog-A format. The resulting reduced-order models (ROMs) simulate nearly as fast as simple hand-crafted models, but are far more accurate. This enables system and IC designers to include accurate, non-linear MEMS device models in their system- and circuit-level simulations. For the second generation, Coventor has greatly simplified the inputs for model reduction and automatically includes the key dynamic and electrostatic non-linear effects present in capacitive motion sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes. ROMs can be provided to partners without revealing critical design IP.   Figure 1 shows one such integration architecture.

Figure 1: Integration of MEMS with digital/analog design

Additional advances in MEMS+ 6.0 include:

  • Support for design hierarchy, encouraging time-saving re-use of device sub-structures.
  • Refined support for including packaging effects in thermal stability analysis of sensors, reducing the impact ambient temperature can have on the thermal stability of sensor outputs such as zero offset in accelerometers and drift bias in gyros.
  • Improved modeling of devices that rely on piezo-electric effects for sensing. Interest in piezo sensing is growing because the underlying process technology for piezo materials has matured and the potential benefits over capacitive sensing, the current market champion.
  • An expanded MATLAB scripting interface that now allows design entry as well as simulation control.

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