MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Barcelona Design Inc., which already fields Web-based tools for designing operational amplifiers, has begun offering an RF design tool that lets engineers tune and tweak on-chip passives, particularly spiral inductors.
The tool, called Dali, provides an optimization and synthesis capability for RF passive components such as inductors and resonators, which will be fabricated on-chip.
It works very much like the Picasso op-amp optimizer: The user logs onto the Barcelona site with a standard Web browser, and uses forms to indicate performance requirements, constraints, and geometrical and electrical parameters such as area, spacing, width, inductance and tank impedance. Because of the short wavelengths involved, RF circuits are extremely sensitive physical geometries, said Mar Hershenson, Barcelona's founder and CEO.
The tool automatically simulates the behavior of the proposed inductor and reports on the parameters that may be relaxed to complete the design. For example, users can specify load capacitance and resistance across the terminals of a spiral inductor and have the tool design the spiral to maximize the impedance of the resonator, Hershenson said.
Dali gives the user the sensitivity of each of its parameter and constraint fields, telling the designer how certain specs will affect overall design objectives.
Dali supports square, hexagonal and octagonal spirals in either a grounded or floating configuration. In addition, the tool can analyze the impact of patterned ground shields, vias and through holes. A companion capacitor design tool is in development, Barcelona confirmed.
As it did with the earlier Picasso, one of the first tools to let designers optimize a synthesizable model online, Barcelona is offering a free trial for the Dali Passives Optimizer. Users will pay only for the RF design service when they request and receive a completed netlist for the spiral design. Until then, they can explore design tradeoffs as much as they'd like with an unlimited number of simulation runs.
Final pricing for Dali will be released at a later date. Barcelona markets its Web-based chip design as a pay-per-use service to engineers (see April 10 story).