Never miss a story from Cadence Academic Network. Subscribe for in-depth analysis and articles.
The Virtuoso Education Kit has just been released and now there is already a new kit available: The Organic Printed Electronics PDK Education Kit! This kit also uses Virtuoso as the main Cadence tool, allowing schematic creation, layouting, and parasitic extraction; However, it relies on completely different technology — Organic Printed Electronics. This technology is radically different from silicon technologies, and it is maturing for broad usage. There is a rule in microelectronics: if the technology leaves the lab and a PDK gets created, then it is stable enough for broad usage, so happened with MEMS, silicon-photonics and III-V technologies. Now, organic printed electronics has its first PDKs created, and the best thing is that the PDK is open-source and can be downloaded right now! Even better, the technology the PDK relies on is manufacturable. The first designs were presented at the LOPEC conference. Watch the video to learn more about the organic printed electronics competition.
Organic printed electronics cannot compete with its silicon counterpart when it comes to miniaturization or performance, but it offers some advantages which cannot be matched by any other technology, and there are plenty of opportunities of application that can be envisioned. Printed organic electronics are thin, lightweight, and bendable, which makes it a natural fit for pressure and temperature sensors, flexible displays, RFID, or wearables. They are also much cheaper and faster to manufacture, as there are fewer steps in the manufacturing process in comparison to silicon ICs.
The creation of the PDK was accomplished within the project 2-wards Hybrid and Organic Electronics: International Development of Sensor Nodes (2HORISONS), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Consortium members are BASF, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), University of Heidelberg, InnovationLab and Cadence. BASF provided the materials and the OTFT process, Cadence and KIT developed the PDK,InnovationLab established the manufacturing process and acts as a technology manufacturer. With the released PDK, it is possible to contact InnovationLab about the conditions for producing printed designs, which are also accessible for small academic budgets and low volumes. The open-source license for the PDK doesn’t require an NDAs or a freeze period for students who are doing research and education with the PDK.
The PDK contains not only analog devices like PMOS or resistors, but also a set of digital cells, so simple digital designs using Virtuoso Custom Placer and automated routing are also possible. The PDK supports all design steps from the design idea to tape-out, including schematic entry and simulation, connectivity-driven layout, DRC&LVS, parasitic extraction, and re-simulation with parasitic elements included in the netlist, and streamout to GDS.
The kit can be used for a deep-dive into printed organic electronics. It contains lectures from BASF about the materials, InnovationLab about the manufacturing, KIT about characterization and modelling of devices, and Cadence about the design process with the Virtuoso platform using analog devices or standard cells. The lab exercise guides students on how to develop simple circuits, simulate, and verify them. The kit also contains video tutorials on organic printed electronics, which were recorded at the DATE 2022 conference.
The open-source, production level OPDK used in this Education Kit can be downloaded here. All the software tools required for the practical part are available through the Cadence University Program. To become a member of the Cadence University Program, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
The Academic Network is excited about adding another Education Kit to our growing list of Academic Resources. Partnering with academia and business groups is helping educators around the globe to enrich their classroom curriculum. Interested in learning about the other education kits available? Explore our Academic Resources hub.