Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS), a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, today announced a new add-on to PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS) that enables designers to perform pre-compliance testing on virtual prototypes of switched-mode power supply (SMPS) designs. This new capability saves the time and cost of iterative build and test of physical prototypes.

Demand for SMPS is driven by the need for greater efficiency, increased power density and lower cost. Fast, low-loss switches made from silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) will power future applications due to the high performance and efficiency they enable. However, there are unwanted side effects from the high current slew rate, such as difficultly meeting the radiated electromagnetic interference (EMI) spec. Pre-compliance analysis of a “virtual prototype” is ideal for managing this challenge, but until now it required expertise with a complicated, general-purpose electromagnetic (EM) field solver.  

To address this growing need, Keysight has added a radiated EMI capability to the company’s Power Electronics Professional (PEPro) software, available as an add-on to PathWave ADS. This new capability includes automatic setup, eliminating the need for an expert, as well as pre-built testbenches, frequency-domain far-field analyses that mimic real-world tests, and comparison with government-mandated masks. 

“High current slew rate in the switched loop brings many benefits but also requires greater discipline in circuit design and layout,” said Dr. Rakesh Lal, Principal Scientist at Transphorm, a global semiconductor company leading the GaN Revolution. “The high frequency switching harmonics give unwanted radiation into the VHF frequency band, so we look to Keysight for their experience in modeling these effects. PEPro encapsulates their decades of experience and makes it accessible to power electronics designers to optimize wide bandgap circuits and layouts for highest performance and reliability.” 

“The interactions between PE, SI, PI and EMI are well known.  Being able to simulate all four together in a single environment adds tremendous visibility to the design process,” said Steve Sandler, Managing Director of Picotest, a company that specializes in high fidelity testing and measurement tools, primarily for power-related applications.

“I talk with dozens of SMPS engineers every year and the one thing they are all struggling with is EMI compliance in the high di/dt area,” said Colin Warwick, product manager for power electronics EDA tools at Keysight. “They really see the value of the pre-compliance ‘virtual prototyping’ capability of this new version of PEPro.”