Get email delivery of the Cadence blog featured here
You should be getting used to the new 17.4 release at this point. I am willing to bet there are still exciting new improvements that you haven’t found yet.
Today, allow me to show off the new materials editor. It is likely you don’t use this form every day, but its information is no less important to your substrate’s success because of that! And while the 17.4 materials editor did first appear in 17.2 later QIR releases, it wasn't made the default tool until 17.4. So, many of you may not have ever seen or used it in 17.2.
You can access the materials form from the Setup menu. In 17.2, this form was starting to show some age:
With its blue, yellow, and green areas, the form stands out. But, the information that it provides is limited. And, beyond that, finding a specific entry can be difficult. You can right-click the column headers to pick the column to sort on, but you cannot filter the entries by name or attributes (or see visually what the table is sorted on). Meaning, you will always see all entries and must find the one you are looking for in the list manually.
17.4 greatly simplifies this. You can now click on any column to sort on it. AND you can specify filters for each of the columns to trim down the list to find the item you’re looking for. The page updates dynamically as you type in any of the filters; you can watch the list get shorter with every additional character you type.
You can make the text in the form larger or smaller by clicking to activate the table. Then, with the Ctrl key pressed, scroll your mouse wheel in or out like you are zooming. The text will get larger or smaller, allowing you to see things with the ideal size for your monitor’s resolution and font scaling. Handy!
Columns for thermal and magnetic properties provide more data. Don’t skip over the Design column under the Type heading, either. If you are one of our many customers who design both PCB and Package substrates, the design column permits you to flag materials as being available for just board or just package designs. With this, selecting a material in the cross-section form will only show those materials that are appropriate for the type of layout you are working on.
Did you notice that the form now has menus? Go take a second look because there are three of them! File, Edit, and View. What new capabilities do these add to your *ahem* features menu?
The View menu is the simplest. Here, you can change what is shown in the grid. Say you only want to see those materials that apply to the active drawing. The View menu’s where you want to go. As shown below, if I turn off the Materials in Library option and leave just Materials in Design, my table gets MUCH smaller (only three layers in this case!), and I can see quite simply all the materials that comprise this layout.
Note, however, that presently the materials listed as in use apply for the layer stack only. If you want this form to include such options as the materials used for bond wire profiles in the active design, maybe your die stack spacers, adhesive materials, or pillar / bump / BGA balls, let us know so we can make sure you see everything you need to in order to completely understand and describe your design.
Moving left to the Edit menu will get you the Refresh Materials option. This replaces the button on the right side of the form relative to the materials file path in the old form. Since you hit this option far more rarely, there is no need for it to be front and center on the form, taking up space all the time. Relocating it to the menu in this way keeps it present and quickly accessible while letting you always see as many of your materials as possible on the screen.
On the far left is the File menu. From here, you can merge in additional materials files to the current one, save the materials file out to a library location on disk, or generate a CSV file of just the material information shown in the form table at this time. If you’re trying to create a materials list for your manufacturing partner, this is precisely where you want to go!
Don’t forget the pop-up menus, either. Those remain present, allowing you to right-click an existing material to copy it, delete it, or even just to add a completely new material into the list.
Now you have all your materials configured. Accessing them from the cross-section editor for your design will see the updates, limiting your choice of materials to those appropriate based on your design type, layer type, and other selected criteria.
Using the right materials for the job will get you the most accurate signal integrity results. Don’t sacrifice accuracy. Use the materials editor in 17.4 to collect all the material information and keep things in sync with your manufacturing data!