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Keysight Technologies and ROHM Semiconductor Enable Designers to Rapidly Modify SMPS Reference Design for SiC Power Devices

“Digital Twin” of ROHM Reference Design Enables “What if…” Design Space Exploration

SANTA ROSA, Calif., October 8, 2020

Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS), a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, and ROHM Semiconductor, a leading semiconductor company, jointly announce today a PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS)-compatible workspace that enables designers to perform pre-compliance testing on virtual prototypes of switched-mode power supply (SMPS) designs. This new capability saves time and cost by catching errors early in the design before they become a big problem.

Demand for SMPS is driven by the need for greater efficiency, increased power density and lower cost. Fast, low-loss switches made from silicon carbide (SiC) and related materials will power future applications due to the high performance and efficiency they enable. However, unwanted side effects from high-speed switching include voltage spikes (“ringing”). In addition, it is more difficult to meet conducted and radiated electromagnetic interference (EMI) specifications in higher speed designs. Pre-compliance analysis of a “virtual prototype” or “digital twin” is ideal for managing this challenge, but previously required expertise to build and use the necessary design information, called a “workspace.”

To address this, Keysight teamed with ROHM to create the “twin” of ROHM’s reference design (model P01SCT2080KE-EVK-001) available to mutual customers via Keysight’s web site at https://www.keysight.com/us/en/assets/3120-1476/application-notes/Virtual-Reference-Design.pdf.

Virtual prototypes are complementary to physical prototypes. Physical prototypes are the gold standard for compliance and measured characteristics, but have several drawbacks including: expensive and time consuming to design, build and measure; are vulnerable to catastrophic failure (the infamous “smoke test” that produces actual smoke); and it is hard to get a measurement probe onto interior nodes.

In contrast, virtual prototypes are easy to change and while they do flag device overstress as warning messages during simulation, they never emit real smoke. The voltage, current and fields at every spatial point in the 3D grid and every time step in the simulation can be recorded and made accessible for plotting, even points that are physically inaccessible in the real world such as inside a semiconductor package.

“Many of our customers struggle to deal with layout effects when current slew rate in the switched loop exceeds 1A/ns because even tiny parasitic inductances cause ringing. Suppressing EMI is also a big challenge for them,” said Ippei Yasutake, Group Leader at ROHM. “The digital twin gives our customers the insights they need to make changes without running into problems.”

“This is going to be a big timesaver for anyone wanting to get the most out of designs that use wide bandgap power devices. The layouts can be hard to tame, and EM extraction is key. This workspace and application-specific tool like PEPro makes things much easier,” said Steve Sandler, Managing Director, Picotest.

“SMPS engineers tell me they are all struggling with is designing in this the high di/dt era,” said Yang Zou, Director of Emerging Business at Keysight’s PathWave Software Solutions division. “They really see the value when I explain the pre-compliance ‘virtual prototyping’ capability of this new workspace.”

About Keysight’s Power Electronics design solutions

Keysight’s power electronics design solutions enable power device production across the entire workflow from simulation, design, and verification to manufacturing, deployment, and optimization. Keysight offers a complete electromagnetic circuit co-simulation environment with its PathWave Advanced Design System.

Additional information about Keysight’s Power Electronics design solutions is available at:

About Keysight Technologies

Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS) is a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world. Keysight’s solutions optimize networks and bring electronic products to market faster and at a lower cost with offerings from design simulation, to prototype validation, to manufacturing test, to optimization in networks and cloud environments. Customers span the worldwide communications ecosystem, aerospace and defense, automotive, energy, semiconductor and general electronics end markets. Keysight generated revenues of $4.3B in fiscal year 2019. More information is available at www.keysight.com.

About ROHM Semiconductor

As a pioneer and leading supplier, ROHM offers among the industry’s largest lineup of SiC power devices for a broad range of applications and industries. From discrete components such as SBDs and MOSFETs that provide breakthrough performance to power modules incorporating multiple SiC devices, ROHM provides products and solutions to suit a variety of needs. More information is available at:
www.rohm.com. Additional information about the physical eval board is available at https://www.rohm.com/power-device-support.

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