Advanced Analog And Mixed Signal Design Continues Pushing The Design Envelope

Addressing design challenges in analog and mixed signal with high speed analysis.


As PCB design has evolved into its present form with extremely complex boards housing high speed circuitry in very small areas, analog and mixed signal (AMS) and high speed analysis can address the latest design challenges.

Analog/mixed signal design

More and more products incorporate more than just digital circuitry. The vast majority of products now integrate digital and analog circuitry on the same board, and many also incorporate RF as well. Viewed from the context of system design, analog/mixed signal simulation becomes critical for product creation. A new cloud-based circuit exploration/simulation environment and user community, PADS AMS Cloud, is available free for PADS users.

It doesn’t take an analog or RF expert to create and share analog, mixed-signal, and mixed-technology designs in an online, collaborative environment where designs and models can be published or downloaded. In addition, circuit designs created in PADS AMS Cloud can be transferred to the PADS AMS Design Suite desktop environment, eliminating the need to manually recreate circuits to perform advanced analysis and drive the PCB design flow.

The PADS AMS Design Suite is a complete design creation solution that allows engineers to design and simulate analog/mixed-signal (AMS) and digital in one environment. Within one schematic session, both analog circuit simulation leveraging the power and flexibility of VHDL-AMS and topology exploration with the HyperLynx tool can be performed. Beyond DC Bias, time-domain, and frequency-domain simulations, extended analysis capabilities are included as standard, such as multi-run parametric sweeps, sensitivity, Monte Carlo, and Worst Case analysis to address specific engineering needs.

Figure 1

Pre-layout simulation allows you to eliminate signal integrity problems and optimize of critical signal topologies and terminations.

Design Capabilities:

  • Schematic design, analog circuit simulation, and pre-layout analysis all in a single environment.
  • Accurate representation of both electronic and electromechanical circuit elements.
  • Circuit verification and optimization against real-world variability.

DDRx simulation

One of the several DDR memory interfaces can be found in the majority of products hitting the market these days. The new PADS HyperLynx DDR option allows designers and engineers to quickly identify and solve signal integrity (SI) and timing issues specific to DDRx. In addition, the tool uses wizards, allowing quick set up of simulations and then quick execution of the simulation.

Simulation capabilities:

  • Signal Integrity simulation and checking to identify problems with overshoot/undershoot, ringing, and timing issues such as setup/hold, de-rating, skew, and data bus margins.
  • Easy setup, automated whole-bus simulation, and results reporting.
  • Streamlined summary pass/fail judgment on entire interfaces.
  • HTML-based reporting.

Electrical DRC, validation, and sign-off

Electrical design rule checking, final validation and electrical sign off are three other important tools in the design creation platform environment. With pre-defined rules, issues such as traces crossing voids and traces changing reference planes can be quickly identified even on the largest designs. Integrated electrical DRC technology enables engineers to be confident that their PCB designs are electrically correct before hand-off to manufacturing. Passing the design rule checks validates the design and provides the basis for electronic sign-off, which accelerates passing the design to manufacturing.

DRC capabilities:

  • Fast time to results with a rules-based approach to identify non-CAD constraints.
  • Out-of-the-box checks for EMI, signal integrity, and power integrity.
  • Visual results, easy identification of violations.


With the incorporation of these new tools, PADS becomes a complete product creation platform. The integrated tool set includes tools that allow engineers and designers to take a design from specification, through PCB design, simulation, validation, and sign-off to manufacturing. In the current product design environment, this level of integration can ensure that products reach market quickly, at expected cost, and at a very high reliability level.