23 March 2018
Si2’s Compact Model Coalition approves IC design simulation standards for GaN devices
© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.
The Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) – an R&D joint venture that provides standard interoperability solutions for IC design tools – says that its Compact Model Coalition (CMC) has approved two integrated circuit design simulation standards that target the fast-growing market for gallium nitride (GaN).
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.
GaN 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,” notes president & CEO John Ellis.
To reduce R&D costs and increase simulation accuracy, the semiconductor industry relies on the CMC to share resources for funding standard SPICE models. Si2 is an R&D 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,” says Ellis. “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,” he adds.
“2015 and 2016 were exciting years for the gallium nitride power business,” comments Dr Ana Villamor, technology and market analyst at Yole Développement. “We project an explosion of this market, with 79% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2017 and 2022. Market value will reach $460m at the end of the period. It’s still a small market compared to the impressive $30bn silicon power semiconductor market. However, its expected growth in the short term is showing the enormous potential of the power gallium nitride technology based on its suitability for high-performance and high-frequency solutions,” she adds.
“Gallium nitride devices are playing an increasingly important part in the field of RF and power electronics,” states CMC chair Peter Lee, manager at Micron Memory Japan. “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.”