Coventor Blog

SEMulator3D 5.0 – It’s COMING!!!

David M. Fried

This is my favorite part of the year at Coventor: We’re about to do another MAJOR release of SEMulator3D. Developers are sprinting to the finish line, customers are clamoring for the newest features. I’d like to start talking about the new features of SEMulator3D 5.0, but one blog certainly won’t cover it all. Let’s get started, and we’ll do this as many times as we need to get it all written down.
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MEMS System Co-Design at DTIP

By Gerold Schröpfer

The 17th edition of the Symposium on Design, Test, Integration & Packaging of MEMS and MOEMS (DTIP 2015) took place this year in Montpellier, Southern France, on April 28-30. This conference brings together participants interested in MEMS fabrication with those interested in design tools and methods. While this annual event is always located in Southern Europe, it attracts attendees from both industry and academia from around the world.

It was my pleasure to chair a session titled Co-design for MEMS-based Smart Systems. In recent years, Coventor has made several crucial advancements, now embodied in MEMS+®, to bridge the gap between MEMS device design and system-level simulation. A number of MEMS+ users presented co-simulation results for systems that included inertial sensors, resonators, varactors and micromirrors. It was impressive and gratifying to see their achievements and hear their enthusiasm.

  • Guilherme Brondani Torri of imec presented the co-design of a MEMS-CMOS autonomous switched oscillator. He investigated how the dynamic response is affected by the operating point and environmental parameters. The co-simulation of MEMS and circuitry made it possible to identify important issues related to the stability of the proposed oscillator. [1]
  • Gaelle Lissorgues of ESSIE talked about a complete system design for an RF tunable agile filter. The parametric MEMS+ models for MEMS varactors and switches allowed optimizing the design with respect to manufacturing variations. Automated transfer of the MEMS+ model into Verilog-A allows for system-level simulation in ADS including RF performance estimation.[2]
  • Alessandro Sanginario of IIT Torino presented a MEMS+ based methodology for MEMS-IC-package co-design. The methodology takes into account the effects of thermally-induced stress on the package on inertial sensor transient behavior. He stated that, being an electronic designer, “it’s fantastic” to have a MEMS-package model in your familiar simulation language. [3, 4]
  • Fabio Cenni of ST Micro discussed a new extension to SystemC for MEMS system analysis, named SystemC-AMS/MDVP (Analog/Mixed Signal/Multi-Domain Virtual Prototyping) . This allows co-simulating not only MEMS with electronic hardware, but also with control software. The approach supports different levels of abstraction which allows balancing accuracy and simulation time. Fabio’s presentation was accompanied by a poster, written by Benoit Vernay of Coventor, demonstrating a prototype for automated extraction of a SystemC-AMS reduced-order models from MEMS+. [5, 6, 7]

Finally, my personal favorite was an invited presentation by Johannes Eisenmenger of Carl Zeiss. From a system-integrator point of view, he discussed the opportunities and challenges for EDA tools in developing optical systems. Optimizing such systems with suitable behavioral models is an essential step toward developing products for which new MEMS and other components need to be developed in parallel and their individual specifications depend on mutual interactions and environmental influences. One prominent example is the MEMS mirror matrix, FlexRay, employed in ASML’s 193nm UV lithography equipment for advanced CMOS. [8]

I want to warmly thank our customers for sharing their work with the MEMS system community.

MEMS-CMOS Autonomous Switched Oscillator presented by Guilherme Brondani Torr (© imec) [1]

MEMS-CMOS Autonomous Switched Oscillator presented by Guilherme Brondani Torr (© imec) [1]

Agile Filter assembly using MEMS switches and varactors presented by Gaelle Lissorgues [2]

Agile Filter assembly using MEMS switches and varactors presented by Gaelle Lissorgues [2]

MEMS-Package Co-Design presented by Alessandro Sanginario (© IIT, ST, Coventor) [3]

MEMS-Package Co-Design presented by Alessandro Sanginario (© IIT, ST, Coventor) [3]

Proceedings of International Conference on Design, Test, Integration and Packaging of MEMS and MOEMS (DTIP), Montpellier, France, 27-30 April 2015
[1] Guilherme BRONDANI TORRI (imec / KU Leuven – Belgium), Jan BIENSTMAN, Xavier ROTTENBERG, Harrie TILMANS (imec) ea, Co-Design of a MEMS-CMOS Autonomous Switched Oscillator
[2] Gaelle LISSORGUES (ESIEE Paris – France), Pierre NICOLE (THALES Systèmes Aéroportés – France), Julien PAGAZANI (ESIEE – France) ea, A RF tunable Agile Filter: from component to system design
[3] Alessandro SANGINARIO (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia – Italy), Sarah ZERBINI (STMicroelectronics – Italy), ea, New design methodology for MEMS-electronic-package co-design and validation for inertial sensor systems
[4] Michelangelo GROSSO (ST-POLITO – Italy), Giuliana GANGEMI, Salvatore RINAUDO (STMicroelectronics – Italy) ea, Enabling Smart System Design with the SMAC Platform
[5] Olivier GUILLAUME, Fabio CENNI (STMicroelectronics – France) ea.,SystemC-AMS/MDVP-based modeling for the virtual prototyping of MEMS applications
[6] Fabio CENNI STMicroelectronics – France) ea, Generation of user-defined input stimuli for virtual prototyping of MEMS sensors applications
[7] Benoit VERNAY, Arnaud KRUST (Coventor – France), ea, SystemC-AMS Simulation of a Biaxial Accelerometer based on MEMS Model Order Reduction
[8] Johannes Eisenmenger, Opportunities and challenges of Electronic Design Automation of MEMS-ASIC Systems – A system integrator’s perspective (INVITED)

A Lego Block Approach to MEMS Design

The Smart Systems Integration conference took place in Copenhagen on March 10-12, 2015. We were invited to join a panel discussion with the title “Towards a “Lego block principle” for heterogonous systems design including MEMS and electronics –Choose and put together-fit”. The capital of Denmark felt like the natural place to discuss a “Lego block principle” and so I happily accepted to represent Coventor in the discussion. read more…

Defect Evolution in 3D NAND Flash

by Sandy Wen, Semiconductor Process and Integration

3D NAND Flash has become a hot topic in non-volatile memory these days. While planar NAND flash is still going strong, it has been increasingly difficult to scale planar technology past the sub-20nm lengths and meet upcoming memory cell density and cost targets. In a different approach, Toshiba published early work on 3D NAND in 2007 [1] in which flash cells are stacked vertically to increase cell density. Since then, all major flash memory manufacturers have jumped aboard this train with their own flash architectures, and in 2013, Samsung became the first to ship “V-NAND” in the form of a solid state drive.
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Modeling as a Foundation for TSensors Acceleration

By Steve Breit, VP Engineering
November, 2014

I gave a talk with the same title as this blog at the TSensors Summit held in La Jolla, California on November 12-13. The ‘T’ in TSensors stands for Trillion Sensors and the TSensors Summit initiative is addressing the provocative question: what will it take to get to a worldwide market of a trillion sensors a year in the not-too-distant future, say 10 to 15 years from now. The TSensors initiative is being spearheaded by serial MEMS entrepreneur Janusz Bryzek who cites the book Abundance by Peter Diamandes and Steven Kotler as inspiration for TSensors. The key premise behind the book is that technology is advancing at such a fast rate, exponentially in fact, that we have the opportunity to provide abundant food, clean water, renewable energy and health care for everyone on earth within a generation. This is heady stuff, especially compared to the doom and gloom that pervades the daily news (if only political and cultural differences were as easy to resolve). Sensors of all types will play a key role in technological solutions to these pressing worldwide challenges.
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Finding the NBT(s) in IoT at MEC

By David Cook

The MEMS Executive Congress (MEC) is always a great event to mingle with the most influential people in our industry, and get a finger on the pulse of where we are heading. There are insightful talks from the heavy hitters who supply and use MEMS, interesting observations from the key analysts who track and forecast the market, and eye-opening presentations from innovative start-ups introducing novel applications for sensors and MEMS.

The clear take away from this year’s event is that sensors are at the center of huge new trend in the electronics industry. The Internet of Things (IoT), a catch-all description for any number of devices or applications that sense, capture, analyze and transmit data, is on everyone’s lips – and in their press releases. We heard discussions of Smart Everything – Smart Wearables, Smart Cars, Smart Homes, Smart Cities. And anything that enables those sorts of functions is highly dependent on MEMS and sensors. That is why there are so many charts showing hockey sticks going quickly up and to the right, predicting billions trillions of sensors being in our world soon. As the astute technology writer Kevin Morris said in his recent article, “…the proliferation of those sensors…will absolutely transform the electronics landscape again…”
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Are Good Engineers Born or Bred?

By Steve Breit, V.P. Engineering

I’ve been doing a lot of interviewing over the last 6 months as we grow our engineering team. I often say that hiring is the most important part of my job and also the hardest part. Like any sensible technology company, Coventor wants to hire the best engineers we can find. Good engineers love engineering. They love to build, to create, to innovate, to solve problems. Good engineers are methodical and persistent, but also bring engineering judgment and intuition that helps them arrive at solutions efficiently. Good engineers can’t help doing engineering – it’s who they are. Over the years, I’ve observed that good engineers are way more productive than mediocre engineers. The difference in productivity can be astounding, in excess of 2 or 3X for the best engineers. The trick, at least during the hiring process, is to discern which candidates are the good engineers. You can’t just look at academic degrees, skills claimed, or work experience to tell the difference. read more…

Got Air Gaps?

By Ryan Patz, Applied Materials

NAND Flash memory has become the driver of semiconductor technology and the four primary manufacturers are pushing hard to continue scaling in order to preserve margins. Smartphone growth continues to increase demand and revenue close to $30 Billion is expected for 2014. 3D NAND is not quite ready for “prime time” so significant effort is required to resolve current 2D limitations to enable 1x nm devices. The main process integration challenges include patterning the very small features (often employing quadruple spacer patterning technology), fill issues due to aspect ratios >10 and cell to cell interference [1].
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