feature article
Subscribe Now

Getting More Grounded

Cadence PDN Tool Tames Tricky Power Networks

When doing a digital design, the power network is the last thing you want to worry about.  It can’t be that difficult, right?  You got your power and your ground and some big ‘ol FR4 acreage with nothing but copper as far as the eye can see…

Well, nothing but copper and a few vias, actually.  Oh, and this part here where it gets narrow – and this part over here where there seems to be some nasty resonant frequency that drops the output… Wow, our circuit totally doesn’t work.  What’s the deal? 

Trying to debug power delivery network (PDN) problems without specialized tools is like cooking up a voodoo brew using only ingredients from 7-11.  Fortunately, Cadence is coming out with a new set of PDN capabilities in its board design tools that will demystify the situation – a lot.  The PDN Analysis tool will be part of Cadence’s Allegro board design suite, and it will offer a beginning-to-end solution to signal integrity and power analysis right where you need it – where you can do the PCB edits to correct the problems.

At the heart of the analysis engine is a Method of Moments (MoM) full-wave field solver that can quickly identify the eddies and whirlpools of current on your innocent-looking power plane.  The Cadence solver was developed in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.  The MoM solver is only a part of a broad-based set of capabilities Cadence is throwing at PDN analysis, however.  The flow is designed to allow you to analyze, edit, and then re-analyze quickly – and with selectable degrees of coarseness depending on whether your goal is accuracy or speed of analysis.  

Screen_shot_2011-02-17_at_12.21.13_PM.png

Current direction with arrows.  (Image courtesy of Cadence)

The idea is to locate “hot spots” of current and temperature in your layout and to guide the stackup design plane/shape split scheme.  It will also help you get your decoupling capacitors “just right” so you don’t over- or under-decap your board.  With this tool, you’ll be able to throw out the “needs more cowbell” method of decoupling cap design in favor of something a little more scientific.

The trickiest part, of course, is finding and fixing problems with resonant frequencies in your design.  Here is where the analysis technology really shines.  The tool can give both early, pre-layout feedback on resonant frequencies and detailed analysis of layouts.  If you’re into fancy visualizations (they really impress the boss) the built-in graphing capabilities assure that there will be bunches of beautiful PowerPoint slides for project review meetings.

Screen_shot_2011-02-17_at_12.19.35_PM.png

3D visualization (Image courtesy of Cadence)

For now, Cadence is just making a “technology” announcement, but we feel confident that means a “product” announcement will soon follow.  Meanwhile, you’ll just have to calculate those IR drops the old-fashioned way. 

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jun 23, 2021
Sr. VP of Engineering Jumana Muwafi explains the role of semiconductor IP development in electronic design automation & shares advice for women in leadership. The post Q&A with Jumana Muwafi, Sr. VP of Engineering: Pushing the Envelope on IP Innovation appeared fir...
Jun 23, 2021
PCB design complexities increase with the increase in the number of parts and layers in a design. For creating these complex designs with maximum efficiency, the design tool should be equipped with... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community sit...
Jun 23, 2021
Samtec presented a proof-of-concept demonstration of our new waveguide technology at IMS 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. In this video, filmed at the show, Mike Dunne, Samtec’s Director of RF Business Development, gives us an update on the new technology and walks us through ...
Jun 21, 2021
By James Paris Last Saturday was my son's birthday and we had many things to… The post Time is money'¦so why waste it on bad data? appeared first on Design with Calibre....

featured video

Kyocera Super Resolution Printer with ARC EV Vision IP

Sponsored by Synopsys

See the amazing image processing features that Kyocera’s TASKalfa 3554ci brings to their customers.

Click here for more information about DesignWare ARC EV Processors for Embedded Vision

featured paper

What is a Hall-effect sensor?

Sponsored by Texas Instruments

Are you considering a Hall-effect sensor for your next design? Read this technical article to learn how Hall-effect sensors work to accurately measure position, distance and movement. In this article, you’ll gain insight into Hall-effect sensing theory, topologies, common use cases and the different types of Hall-effect sensors available today: Hall-effect switches, latches and linear sensors.

Click to read more

Featured Chalk Talk

Transforming 400V Power for SELV Systems

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Vicor

Converting from distribution-friendly voltages like 400V down to locally-useful voltages can be a tough engineering challenge. In SELV systems, many teams turn to BCM converter modules because of their efficiency, form factor, and ease of design-in. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Ian Masza of Vicor about transforming 400V into power for SELV systems.

Click here for more information about Products by Vicor