Bringing MEMS into the IC design flow: Article in EDA Design Line
By Stephen Breit, vice president of engineering, and Joost van Kuijk, vice president marketing and business development, Coventor, Inc.
(05/21/2010 8:08 AM EDT)
|Micro-electro-mechanical systems have been available for years, and have been successful in selected high-volume applications. But MEMS design is not as organized as it could be. MEMS design typically requires teams of expert specialists, and is mostly confined to IDMs that have their own fabs. Traditionally, there is also little connection between the design of a MEMS device and the electronic circuitry it interacts with, and the handoff between MEMS and IC designers is ad hoc, manual and error-prone.|
This article describes the traditional MEMS design flow, discusses requirements for a "structured" and automated design flow, and shows an example flow that links a commercial MEMS 3D design environment with a custom IC design and simulation solution.
Figure 1: MEMS models must serve different EDA tools and abstraction levels
MEMS devices offer great potential for continuing the pace of miniaturization that began with Moore's Law. They have already enabled great advances, from safer cars to digital projection, and are increasingly revolutionizing the way we interface with the latest multi-function consumer electronics. But MEMS design has for too long been confined to specialists who use an ad hoc design methodology with little or no connection to the electronic design environment.
In this article, we have seen how traditional MEMS design flows involve manual hand-offs to IC designers, making it necessary to rewrite models and redraw layouts. A more structured, automated flow can overcome these deficiencies. The Coventor MEMS+ environment, working with the Cadence Virtuoso custom design platform and MATLAB Simulink, provides an example of a structured flow that helps automate the connection between MEMS design and IC design.