PORTLAND, Ore.—With the market for micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) chips growing at a 50 percent annual growth rate, according to Goldman Sachs (New York), electronic design automation (EDA) tool vendor Coventor Inc. (Cary, N.C.) aims to speed-up the MEMS chip design process by adding scripted automation and by dramatically expanding the size of the devices it can simulate.
"Conventor users can now use the Python scripting language to automate the process of changing test parameters and then running simulations to make sure MEMS devices meet their design specifications under all operating conditions," said Stephen Breit, vice president of product development at Coventor.
Coventor is the premiere EDA tool for designing MEMS devices, used by all major MEMS chip makers including WiSpry Inc. (Irvine, Calif) whose MEMS varactor (manufactured for it by IBM) was recently discovered in Samsung's latest Focus Flash Windows smartphone by teardown specialists IHS iSuppli (El Segundo, Calif.)
Close-up of MEMS accelerometer 3-D simulation in CoventorWare 2012.
Conventor also expanded the resolution of its models from 32-bit to 64-bit, removing the 3-Gbyte limit to simulation sizes that had previously slowed down the design process, both improvements of which were announced at this week's IEEE MEMS 2012 conference.
"Now our users can focus on solving even the most complex MEMS design and simulation problems without worrying about running out of memory space," said Breit. "Now it's just a matter of how much simulation memory you can afford, rather than how much our tools can access."
CoventorWare also sports a new hex-dominant extrude meshing capability that automatically generates meshes of uniform density and quality, unlike previously when inefficient tetrahedryl meshes were required for stacked layers of materials that are perforated with release etch holes. As a result, Coventor claims its new hex-dominant meshes utilize 20-to-40 percent fewer elements, enabling the simulation of multi-axis MEMS sensors with hundreds of electrostatic comb fingers.
Goldman Sachs research predicts that MEMS market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 50 percent between 2011 and 2013. Source: Goldman Sachs.
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I am just wondering how is the simulation of the mechanical part done. It is easy to simulate the electrical part but difficult to do so for the mechanical properties - they could change in the manufacturing process.
I was wondering how the designers were able to get it right on silicon. What is the under the hood simulation engine based on? Is it spice or something else altogether? Will this advanced tool allow for cheaper, more accurate MEMs in the near future? One can only hope and dream..