Sentinel-PSI is a 3D full-wave electromagnetic solver for power and signal integrity analysis of package and PCBs, with the ability to perform DC (static), AC (frequency domain), and transient (dynamic) simulations from a single environment. Based on the fast finite element method (FFEM), it provides the accuracy of a conventional full-wave tool, with the unparalleled capacity to handle an entire package or board design.

In addition to its high accuracy and capacity as an extraction tool, Sentinel-PSI is also seamlessly connected to other Apache products in system level analysis. It natively supports the Chip Power Model (CPM) for IC-aware package and PCB co-analysis of the power delivery network (PDN). It is also linked with Sentinel-SSO to perform system level I/O-SSO simulations.

 Key Benefits

  • True 3D full-wave accuracy to handle complex power/ground planes and signal nets
  • Industry’s first full-wave solver, stable at as low as 1Hz
  • Capacity and efficiency to simulate the entire package and/or PCB with a short turn-around time
  • Integrated co-simulation environment with DC, AC and transient analysis capabilities
  • Proprietary mesher and solver with intrinsic multi-core support

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Key Functionalities

  • Next generation 3D full-wave engine
  • IC-aware package and PCB power analysis
  • Tightly integrated flow with Sentinel-SSO
  • Macro model generation from S parameters
  • DC, AC and transient analysis
  • Advanced frequency sweep technology

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Next Generation 3D Full-wave Engine

Most of today's package and PCB analysis tools employ 2D or 2.5D methods, thus limiting the accuracy and the scope of application. Sentinel-PSI's 3D full-wave engine accurately models complex 3D features such as cut-out, meshed plane, power/ground island, via-pad to trace junctions, and coplanar signal traces. It delivers unsurpassed accuracy for power and signal analysis of complex package and PCB designs with minimal impact on performance and turnaround time.

Figure 1: Key features of Sentinel-PSI’s 3D full wave engine

The simulation engine of Sentinel-PSI is based on the fast FEM method, with customized formulation specially designed for package and PCB structures. It dramatically increases the simulation capacity and efficiency without loss of accuracy, demonstrating very good correlation results between Sentinel-PSI and the measurement, or conventional 3D full wave solutions.

Figure 2: Sentinel-PSI v.s.measurement for broadband power/ground impedance. Cyan – Sentinel-PSI, Magenta – measurement.

Figure 3: Sentinel-PSI v.s. conventional 3D full wave solver for cross talk between signal nets

In addition, Sentinel-PSI’s enhanced algorithm addresses the low frequency instability problem in the sub-MHz range, which is known as the low frequency break down in other 3D full wave tools. This enables an accurate broadband simulation from DC to tens of GHz.

With advanced meshing and solver technology, Sentinel-PSI further improves the capacity of the simulation. The mesher and solver are specially designed for the multi-core environment so they can take full advantage of the available CPUs in the system.

Figure 4: Conformal mesh generated by Sentinel-PSI

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IC-aware Package and PCB Power Analysis

Power is a system-wide challenge, not just an IC-related issue. Increasingly, package and PCB designers are concerned with the impact of IC power and noise on their design, as the traditional method of using a single, triangular profile for the IC does not give an accurate distribution of the IC’s real dynamic voltage drop.

The picture below shows a real-world analysis of a package mounted on a PCB. On the left, the analysis used a traditional, single average-current-based model of the IC. On the right, the accurate chip current was provided by the Apache’s Chip Power Model (CPM™). The peak IR-drop occurred in a different corner of the package than what was identified using the traditional ‘estimate’ of the IC’s behavior. Therefore, it is becoming essential for package and PCB designers to consider the effect of the IC.

Figure 5: Peak voltage drop in a package obtained with average current estimation and CPM model

Sentinel-PSI provides a fully integrated chip-package-system power integrity solution that includes a compact CPM that allows engineers to achieve accurate results by considering the IC’s real power model. This enables package and PCB designers to perform analysis from the early stage and throughout the entire design flow. During early design, Sentinel-PSI enables accurate and predictable package selection, as well as power pad and signal pin ratio and package/PCB decap optimizations. Later in the flow, Sentinel-PSI enables power integrity analysis of the package and PCB by including the IC power delivery network behavior, and diagnosing potential chip-package LC resonance issues, as well as validating package/PCB dynamic voltage drop margins.

Sentinel-PSI loads the CPM model and automatically establishes the connection between die pads and package pins. The die parasitic, as well as the chip current profile can be used in DC, AC, and transient analyses. In addition, the package model extracted by Sentinel-PSI can be imported back to RedHawk for package-aware IC power integrity analysis.

Figure 6: Usage flow of the chip-package-system co-simulation

Sentinel-PSI is a comprehensive power integrity solution for package and PCB designers. It combines the chip's core switching on power delivery network and 3D full-wave package / PCB models in a single environment for accurate IC-package co-analysis. With Sentinel-PSI, package and system designers can mitigate design failure risks, reduce overall system cost, and improve productivity.

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Tightly Integrated Flow with Sentinel-SSO

As an accurate extraction tool for power/ground and signal nets in package and PCB, Sentinel-PSI is an essential component in the system level SSO simulation. The communication between Sentinel-PSI and Sentinel-SSO is smooth and easy with built-in SSO Channel Builder setups and simulation, allowing designers to extract the power ground and signal nets from a package model by clicking single button. Extraction result can be directly presented as an S parameter model or converted into a SPICE friendly macro model and plugged back into the SSO simulation. When Sentinel-SSO specifies a victim net, the SSO Channel Builder can be used to simplify the package model by picking the aggressors with the strongest coupling.

Figure 7: SSO Channel Builder greatly simplifies the SSO setup and simulation

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Macro Model Generation from S Parameters

The usage of S parameter model in system level transient simulation is often problematic due to the slow speed of simulation, limited bandwidth, potential passivity and causality issues, and lack of voltage reference across the ports. Sentinel-PSI provides a utility to convert the S parameter extraction result into an equivalent circuit model for generic SPICE simulators, as well as specific models using HSPICE Foster and Laplace elements for HSPICE simulation. The model provides a good approximation to the original network within the bandwidth of the S parameters, while the model itself has unlimited bandwidth and is preferable by the transient simulation. Sentinel-PSI applies passivity enforcement to the model to achieve a stable simulation. In addition, the macro model separates the parasitics on the return path from the signal or power nets, thus generating more realistic results in system level SPICE/HSPICE simulations.

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DC, AC and Transient Analysis

Sentinel-PSI provides unified DC, AC, and transient co-analysis engine. DC analysis supports resistance check and static- IR-drop analysis. Frequency-domain simulations include the S parameter extraction of multi-port network, as well as EMI analysis for field distribution calculation, internal or external to the system. Time-domain dynamic voltage drop analysis is also integrated in the same user interface. Sentinel-PSI’s fast and efficient finite element mesh generation and equation solving technology enables the designers to quickly obtain the most accurate power and signal analysis results.

Figure 8: Sentinel-PSI provides versatile analysis in the same environment

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Advanced Frequency Sweep Technology

Sentinel-PSI’s advanced frequency sweep technology ensures the highest analysis accuracy over the entire frequency band while the carrying out simulation only at a minimum number of frequency points. In additional to the conventional interpolation techniques based on mathematical models, Sentinel-PSI also provides an physics-based broad band simulation based on very limited frequency points, whenever it is applicable. For heavy duty signal net simulations, this feature significantly reduces the simulation time, without sacrificing the accuracy.

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