RF Through mmWave System Design

Cadence® AWR Design Environment® Version 16 (V16) introduces groundbreaking cross-platform interoperability to support RF IP integration for heterogeneous technology development across Cadence Allegro® PCB Designer, Virtuoso® System Design, and Virtuoso RF Solution platforms, delivering up to a 50% reduction in turnaround time compared to competing workflows. The V16 release also provides seamless integration with Cadence’s Clarity™ 3D Solver and Celsius™ Thermal Solver, delivering unconstrained capacity for electrothermal performance analysis of large-scale and complex RF systems.

The V16 Advantage


Turn concepts into real RF/microwave components, optimized for performance and ready for easy integration into multi-fabric systems that are right the first time


Capture true RF system performance with tightly coupled electromagnetic (EM) and thermal analysis for solving large, complex structures and heat-generating RF power applications


Embeddable and re-usable Cadence Microwave Office® circuit design software IP ushers in a new era of unprecedented cross-platform workflows to the Allegro and Virtuoso platforms for chip, package, board, and module design

AWR Design Environment Platform v16 Workflows

Import Designs into Virtuoso Platform for Multi-Technology Integration
IP generated from Microwave Office software and implemented as MMIC or package/laminate technologies can be exported into Virtuoso Schematic Editor and/or Virtuoso Layout Suite to integrate these designs into multi-technology systems. This interoperability eliminates the need for manual design re-entry, reducing time, costs, and the potential for errors.

Spectre Simulation Platform Simulates Microwave Office Models
The Cadence Spectre® Simulation Platform can simulate RF IP based on Microwave Office software’s linear models, enabling co-design of RFICs, packages, and modules, inclusive of RF content such as off-chip matching and resonators.

Component Compatibility Across Design Platforms
RF/microwave IP created and analyzed in Microwave Office software can be developed using Allegro libraries and technologies, ensuring compatibility with the Allegro PCB Designer schematic and layout editors, as well as the targeted manufacturing technologies using corporate-approved components. Using an organization’s approved bill of materials (BOM) eliminates the need to replace components in the RF design when edited inside the manufacturing framework. In addition, physical design constraints set in the Allegro environment are available within Microwave Office software for dynamic voiding of ground/power planes.

Integrating RF IP into PCB Manufacturing Layout

The Microwave Office software to Allegro PCB workflow provides a seamless schematic and layout data transfer from Microwave Office software to the Allegro PCB design platform, eliminating time-consuming and error-prone manual re-entry. By using parts with identical symbols, footprints, and properties between the Allegro platform and Microwave Office software, RF designs are instantly recognizable to the layout engineer, allowing RF and layout design teams to work collaboratively, yet independently. The Allegro design can be imported back into the AWR Design Environment platform for high-performance, multiphysics analysis and design verification of the entire system after the RF IP has been incorporated with the rest of the PCB.

Clarity 3D Solver Integration
Simulate EM structures from the Microwave Office software’s user interface using the Clarity 3D Solver, a 3D full-wave EM simulation software tool. The Clarity 3D Solver uses distributed multiprocessing technology to deliver virtually unlimited capacity and 10X speed over legacy EM simulators to address large RF designs such as entire modules and complete bulk acoustic wave (BAW)/surface acoustic wave (SAW) filters.

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Celsius Thermal Solver Integration

Run thermal analysis from within the Microwave Office software’s user interface using the Celsius Thermal Solver. The Celsius Thermal Solver’s structures can be created either by drawing/importing the geometry in the EM editor or by using EM extraction with simulated temperature results automatically returned into Microwave Office software. 3D plots of the thermal temperature distribution can be viewed in the Celsius Thermal Solver’s native editor.

Additional V16 Release Features

Parallel Remote Simulation

The job scheduler now supports multiple simultaneous remote queues, enabling designers to run long circuit simulation or optimization jobs in parallel, either locally or remotely. EM structures now support per-document remote queue selection and both Cadence AXIEM® planar EM and Analyst™ 3D finite-element method (FEM) simulations can be run on a remote Linux cluster.

Dynamic Voiding and Automatic Net Connectivity Extraction

A new dynamic voiding layout mode in Microwave Office software automatically adds clearance between layout shapes and nets for various drawing layers and is defined by constraint rules specified in the layout process file (LPF). For example, clearances can be automatically added for signal traces routed through ground or signal planes. Additional net management capability facilitates identifying net objects in layout and schematic, and a new connectivity mode enables automatic association of a shape to an overlapping net.

Version Control

Version control manages group design projects, allowing group design data management of complex, multi-function designs in many different technologies. It also prevents unintentional file overwriting when there are multiple users editing the same file in the version control database or central repository.

Layout Trace Interconnect Modeling

The new interconnect (INTERCONN) system block in Cadence Visual System Simulator™ (VSS) communications and radar systems design software models the effects of transmission line loss, impedance mismatch, and coupling. This block has five different operating modes to facilitate a design flow that begins with rough estimates of the layout, progressing to using final PCB layout traces in an EM simulation.

Simplex Optimizer

Enhanced single-thread and parallel simplex optimizers in Microwave Office software with variable step size provide more flexibility than previous simplex optimizers, making them more widely applicable and/or resistant to local minima.

RF Amplifier Power Saturation and Frequency Multiplier Modeling

Improvements to the VSS software’s modeling of RF amplifiers in saturation now yields a smoother power output versus power input curve. These improvements apply to time domain, RF budget analysis, and RF Inspector (RFI) simulations. In addition, the VSS software’s behavioral frequency multiplier models have been improved for both saturated output power and spur level, yielding close agreement between time domain, RF budget analysis, and RFI simulations. The predicted performance is less sensitive to input power variation, matching the behavior of physical frequency multiplier devices.