GaN IC Design Simulation Standards Approved

March 14, 2018 by Paul Shepard

The Silicon Integration Initiative's (Si2) Compact Model Coalition (CMC) has approved two integrated circuit design simulation standards that target the fast-growing global market for GaN semiconductors.

The approved standards are the 12th and 13th models currently funded and supported by the CMC, a collaborative group that develops and maintains cost-saving SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) models for IC design.

John Ellis, president and CEO, said gallium nitride devices are used in many high-power and high-frequency applications, including satellite communications, radar, cellular, broadband wireless systems, and automotive. "Although it's currently a small market, gallium nitride devices are expected to show remarkable growth over the coming years."

To reduce research and developments costs and increase simulation accuracy, the semiconductor industry relies on the CMC to share resources for funding standard SPICE models. Si2 is a research and development joint venture focused on IC design and tool operability standards.

"Once the standard models are proven and accepted by CMC, they are incorporated into design tools widely used by the semiconductor industry. The equations at work in the standard model-setting process are developed, refined and maintained by leading universities and national laboratories. The CMC directs and funds the universities to standardize and improve the models," Ellis explained.

Peter Lee, manager at Micron Memory Japan and CMC chair, said that "Gallium nitride devices are playing an increasingly important part in the field of RF and power electronics. With these two advanced models established as the first, worldwide gallium nitride model standards, efficiencies in design will greatly increase by making it possible to take into account accurate device physical behavior in design, and enabling the use of the various simulation tools in the industry with consistent results."