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Opto hardware acceleration solution debuts

Posted: 24 Jan 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electromagnetic simulation  optoelectronic devices  CMOS image sensors 

Acceleware Corp. and Synopsys Inc. have developed a hardware solution that enables up to 20x faster electromagnetic simulation of optoelectronic devices such as CMOS image sensors. The solution, which links Synopsys' TCAD Sentaurus Device simulation software and Acceleware's ClusterInABox Quad Q30 workstation, enables an order-of-magnitude speed-up of the high accuracy finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) electromagnetic modeling algorithm used in Sentaurus Device. This performance increase allows engineers to leverage the rigor and accuracy of the FDTD method in designing and optimising optoelectronic devices while shortening the product development cycle.

In the rapidly growing optoelectronics market, manufacturers are under constant pressure to produce higher performance devices in a shorter time. For example, CMOS image sensors, which are used widely in camera phones, webcams, digital cameras and camcorders, have to pack more pixels into each device generation, as well as be cost-effective to produce. TCAD tools are well suited for optoelectronics manufacturers designing more sophisticated devices and performing complete characterisation of their device structures over a wide range of light incidence angles, lens shapes, pixel sizes and other factors prior to manufacturing. This high-performance, cost-effective solution also allows the statistical analysis of the impact of manufacturing variations, such as lens misalignment, through multiple simulations.

Due to the complex nature of optoelectronic devices, FDTD simulations typically require tens of hours to fully characterise a CMOS image sensor design in 3D. The new hardware acceleration solution reduces the FDTD simulation time by up to 20x, allowing engineers to carry out more extensive simulation studies, reducing development costs and time. TCAD Sentaurus Device simulation software uses the ClusterInABox Quad Q30's built-in Nvidia GPUs, which deliver up to two Teraflops of computational power, to accelerate FDTD simulations of optoelectronic devices.

The Synopsys interface, TCAD Sentaurus Device EMW-X, is now available through TCAD Sentaurus Device EMW. The ClusterInABox Quad Q30 workstation is available also.

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