MEMS+ Overview: MEMS Simulation Software

MEMS designers generally use two separate approaches to predicting the multi-physics behavior of their device designs: (1) highly simplified, hand-crafted models and (2) time-consuming finite-element analysis (FEA). While each of these approaches has merit, neither approach can accurately predict the dynamic behavior of the entire device while taking full account of multi-physics coupling effects. As a result, MEMS designers resort to time-consuming build-and-test cycles, making it impossible to meet their performance targets and time-to-market goals.

MEMS+® provides designers with a solution to this vexing challenge. MEMS+ is a different kind of FEA, based on a unique MEMS-specific library of high-order, parametric finite elements. These elements provide the accuracy and generality of FEA and the simulation speed of hand-crafted models. Because MEMS+ models run extremely fast compared to conventional FEA, designers can simulate their entire MEMS device, including gas damping effects and control circuitry. With MEMS+, designers can run time-dependent and closed-loop simulations that reveal dynamic behavior that here-to-fore could only be observed and quantified through time-consuming measurements on prototypes.

Overview of the MEMS+ Platform

Using MEMS+ to predict full device behavior

Users select parametric elements from the library to assemble their design and simulate their designs in a built-in simulator, MATLAB, Simulink, or Cadence Virtuoso. After simulating, users visualize and animate the simulation results in 3D. Alternatively, users can export simplified models in Verilog-A format for use in a variety of other simulators.
The parametric nature and speed advantages of MEMS+ models enable users to solve problems that traditional approaches cannot address. With MEMS+, designers can investigate sensitivity to manufacturing variables and study complex effects like cross coupling between mechanical degrees of freedom, quadrature, electrostatic spring softening, thermo-elastic noise, levitation, and substrate deformation.

With MEMS+ you can…

  • Rapidly explore design concepts versus performance specifications such as sensitivity, linearity, frequency response, or actuation time;
  • Predict performance sensitivity to design and manufacturing variables;
  • Optimize designs for performance, temperature insensitivity, manufacturability, and yield;
  • Perform transient simulations of MEMS actuators with fully coupled electro-mechanics and squeezed-film damping effects;
  • Simulate closed-loop behavior of sensors and resonators in Simulink;
  • Simulate MEMS and electronics (ICs) together in the Cadence Virtuoso environment, or any other circuit simulator with an exported Verilog-A model;
  • Predict signal-to noise ratio for MEMS microphones;
  • Include package and substrate deformation effects on MEMS device performance;
  • Selectively exclude non-linear electro-mechanical effects to optimize simulation speed; and
  • View 3D animations of mode shapes, time-harmonic behavior, and transient analyses.

MEMS+ is ideal for designing and optimizing MEMS devices that depend on electrostatic or piezo-electric effects for sensing or actuation, such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, microphones, resonators, actuators, energy harvesters and micro-mirrors.

MEMS  Design

Cadence Virtuoso schematic (top) that includes microphone and output stage with sensitivity and noise simulated in Cadence Spectre (bottom).

MEMS  Design

Cadence schematic for co-simulating an accelerometer with IC, with performance outputs such as linearity, sensitivity and bandwidth.


First mode of an RF resonator

Transient simulation of an electro-statically actuated switch

Transient simulation of a display mirror switching cycle

Drive mode of a dual-mass gyroscope

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