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Nitronex selects Agilent software for high-power GaN design

The software will provide a complete GaN design flow that spans both device modelling and circuit simulation
Nitronex, a GaAs labs company and producer of GaN-on-silicon RF power devices, has selected Agilent's software for its GaN power device design.

The design flow uses Agilent EEsof EDA’s IC-CAP model extraction software and Advanced Design System (ADS) circuit and system simulator - both platforms in RF and microwave design.

Gallium nitride has emerged as a semiconductor material of choice for designing RF power devices, providing a formidable combination of high bandwidth, efficiency and power.

In the case of Nitronex, whose GaN devices use silicon as a substrate, there is an added inherent cost advantage to its approach. Nonetheless, as with the development of any high-power device, designing for high levels of reliability, performance and yield requires investing in leading modelling and simulation technology.

“Agilent’s software platforms offer a clear advantage for our design process,” says David Runton, vice president of engineering at Nitronex. “The usability and simulation advancements of ADS, combined with its superior device models and IC-CAP model extraction software, puts us in the best position to offer top-quality GaN parts to our customers. And, because Agilent’s tools offer a complete design flow, our design process will be more streamlined.”

“We appreciate Nitronex’s decision to transition to Agilent simulation and modeling tools for their future GaN designs,” said Charles Plott, marketing manager with Agilent EEsof EDA. “What is particularly gratifying is the positive acknowledgement about our usability advancements. We have gotten uniformly positive feedback from companies as they reengineer their design flows with the latest nonlinear modeling technologies and simulator advancements.”

ADS delivers a host of usability features to improve designer productivity and efficiency for all applications it supports, as well as capabilities specifically applicable to GaN design. Support for Agilent’s newly introduced artificial neural network-based model (extracted by IC-CAP device modelling software), for example, enables much more accurate FET modelling and simulation results for high-power GaN FET amplifiers.

Additionally, an electro-thermal simulator (based on a full 3-D thermal solver natively integrated into ADS) incorporates dynamic temperature effects to improve accuracy in “thermally aware” circuit simulation results.

IC-CAP features capabilities specifically geared toward high-frequency device modeling, including turnkey extraction of Agilent’s neural networked-based model as well as the Angelov-GaN model. GaN models in particular need to be well suited to deal with the impact of trapping and thermal effects on the device electrical characteristics.

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