Vandana Duff

Add PDKs to Your Design

Blog Post created by Vandana Duff Employee on May 15, 2017

You successfully created a Low Pass Filter in ADS by following my example in the last blog post.  Let’s build off what you know from the Low Pass Filter exercise and learn how to add flexibility to your design, including PDKS and compare an ideal schematic to a schematic with external vendor’s components.


What’s a PDK?

You now want to design a low noise amplifier and need to select what type of process the device needs to be fabricated, whether it’s Si, SiGe, GaAs, or other high frequency manufacturing processes.  A Process Design Kit (PDK) contains active and passive device components with symbols, parameterized layouts, simulations models, and much more for IC design.   A PDK provides both the opportunity to shorten the product design-cycle for high frequency chip design, and the capability to simulate your chip exactly as you expect it before the chip is manufactured.  Some features of a PDK may include:


Schematic Example

Parametric Layout Cells

Design Rule Checks

Simulation Results

Layout Options

For a list of foundries that provide PDKs, follow this link:


Vendor supplied models provide more realistic results, that may include parasitics.  Once your LNA has been created with the PDK of your choice, you can now compare your data to an ideal design by adding your PDK design, and ideal when setting up your plots.  The data can be viewed in several plots, including rectangular and smith chart plots. When setting up your plot, you can plot several traces, which can include any S-parameter measurement, in dB or log.

The lab attached at the bottom shows you how.



What are Cell Views?

Another capability is cell view, which is a way of capturing a design.  It has multiple views and can define a design in that cell using a schematic.  Another way to think about it is within a hierarchy type setting for coding, like pointers in the programming language C.  This capability simplifies what can be viewed in your workspace.   


Check out the attached lab with step-by-step instructions that walk you through the topics we covered: 

  • What is a PDK?
  • Data Comparison
  • What is Cell View?


For other getting started topics, check out our video playlist: