Keysight and ROHM Introduce a Workspace for Testing Virtual Prototypes of SMPS Designs

November 16, 2020 by Stephanie Leonida

Keysight Technologies and ROHM Semiconductor joined together to provide engineers with a workspace for pre-compliance testing of SMPS Design prototypes. 

Recently, Keysight Technologies joined forces with ROHM Semiconductor and announced the availability of a compatible workspace for engineers that wish to undertake pre-compliance testing on virtual prototypes of switched-mode power supply (SMPS) designs.


Engineers can enhance design and simulation workflow with Keysight’s PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS). Image used courtesy of Keysight Technologies 
Engineers can enhance design and simulation workflow with Keysight’s PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS). Image used courtesy of Keysight Technologies 


Using a Digital Twin for Virtual Prototype Testing

Keysight collaborated with ROHM to make a digital twin of ROHM’s reference design (model P01SCT2080KE-EVK-001). Customers of both companies can access information on accessing a PathWave ADS workspace for simulation of a virtual version of ROHM’s reference design through this link.

So how can engineers benefit from using a digital twin? Well, SMPS designs need to meet the consumer demand for high efficiency, quality-performance, low-cost, and increased power density. Certain switches that involve high-speed switching can incur unwanted side-effects such as voltage spikes (“ringing”). Another added obstacle for engineers is the difficulty of meeting conducted and radiated electromagnetic interference (EMI) specifications in higher speed SMPS designs. This is where the digital twin technology may provide users with some benefits.  

In a news release from October, Group Leader at ROHM, Ippei Yasutake said that "many of our customers struggle to deal with layout effects when current slew rate in the switched loop exceeds 1A/ns because even tiny parasitic inductances cause ringing. Suppressing EMI is also a big challenge for them. 

The digital twin gives our customers the insights they need to make changes without running into problems," Yasutake said.

While physical prototypes are the gold standard for compliance, they are costly to build, involve time and effort, and can be hard to measure in terms of hard to access internal nodes. Virtual prototypes are not as susceptible to failure and cannot be physically damaged. They also do not emit smoke as physical prototypes would do in a “smoke test”. With a digital twin, engineers can record voltage, current, and fields at every time step and spatial point in the 3D grid in the simulation. Measurements can be accessed and plotted. 

The PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS)-compatible workspace looks to save time and money for engineers, with the ability to catch errors in SMPS designs and make changes. 

In the same news release, Yang Zou, Director of Emerging Business at Keysight's PathWave Software Solutions division said that engineers “really see the value when I explain the pre-compliance 'virtual prototyping' capability of this new workspace."