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Integrated Circuit/EM Simulation and design Technologies for Advanced Radio Systems-on-chip (ICESTARS)
Start date: Feb 1, 2008, End date: Oct 31, 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

A big challenge awaits for technological developments to keep up with the demands in the market due to both the large variety of wireless communication channels as well as the fact that they are essentially all used at the same time by widely varying applications. For planned developments of wireless communication channels in the SHF and EHF bands, IC design automation tools are indispensable. These tools are needed to develop nanoscale designs of unprecedented complexity and performance and, in addition, enable the achievement of single-pass design success to avoid costly re-spins and the loss of market opportunities.Currently it is impossible to provide accurate simulations of such a system, or even a smaller section of it encompassing just the RF front-end. The advent of multi-standard and software defined radios requires a new generation of transceiver architectures and corresponding CAD tools. Dealing with centre frequencies in the GHz range, the noise figure is a limitation for state-of-the-art designs. Many transceivers have to work in a mobile environment. Therefore low power consumption is mandatory which must be traded off with the circuit's linearity and gain.The key for enabling the realisation of single-chip integration of high-GHz wireless modules is resolving the shortcomings in available design flows. According to the 2006 Sematech roadmap this step in technology requires novel CAD tools and mathematical methods to deal with analogue/digital mixed signal simulation, with challenges in system design and methodologies, parasitic extraction, device and EM simulation, model extraction and optimisation tools. The ICESTARS project will deliver the methodologies and prototype tools to make this possible, by combining the research results of several domains to achieve a clear view on the dependencies between different parts of the complete RF design.

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