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MEMS Tool Upgrade

Back when we looked at CMOS-compatible MEMS, we also included a discussion of the MEMS design tools from Coventor. Those tools have just been upgraded. A few of the improvements are natural, even prosaic – 64-bit coverage, a unified GUI, improved Python support. All in the interests of performance, accuracy, and ease of use.

One more subtle change they’ve made gets to the way they do their analysis. The guts of what they provide is a set of solvers to solve the electrostatic, mechanical, and fluidic equations describing the configuration under study. Rather than being a finite element method (FEM) solver, it’s actually a boundary element method (BEM) solver, which simplifies the calculations.

Typically, in preparation for full FEM calculation, the solid will be “meshed” into tetrahedrons. In the boundary case, they mesh the surface and extrude through the solid, but a “quad” or “tet” approach can end up with some very small elements and an overall poor-quality mesh. They’ve changed to a “hex-dominant” approach, where “hex” refers to the number of sides on the solid element. A four-sided element on the surface extruded down ends up as a solid with six sides (unlike a tetrahedron, which has four). They claim that this new approach yields not only a higher-quality mesh, but also fewer elements, meaning faster calculation.

More information on their new features can be found in their release

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