Microwave engineersand electrical engineers in generalare increasingly relying on software to perform a variety of design tasks. As a result, many software firms are looking to enhance their portfolios to offer more complete solutions. Agilent Technologies, for example, recently announced plans to acquire Accelicon Technologies. Accelicon, a privately held company, provides device-level modeling and validation software for the electronics industry.

This acquisition, which is being led by Agilent's EEsof EDA organization, would strengthen Agilent's flow from modeling to simulation and measurement. At the same time, it would reinforce its leadership in semiconductor device modeling. To reduce design cycles, accurate device models are criticalespecially as higher frequencies, smaller device features, and new materials call for more accurate process design kits (PDKs). These trends have made device modeling one of the most critical parts of the electronics design flow.

At the same time, companies are seeking to lower costs and improve productivityall the while overcoming greater simulation accuracy challenges due to chip complexity, fabrication constraints, and process variations. To help with these issues, semiconductor foundries are striving to improve and streamline their design processes and provide standard design kits with accurate models. Accelicon's SPICE-model analysis helps to achieve model quality assurance.

In addition to offering a model verification platform, Accelicon's MQA solution provides a critical link between wafer fabrication and design. It compares, documents, and validates foundry-supplied models. Differences between technology nodes, library versions, and even other foundry models can therefore be assessed. Accelicon also offers a modeling platform, dubbed MBP, which allows modeling engineers to optimize the SPICE-model library in order to best reflect silicon data and meet the requirements for a specific type of design.

Accelicon was founded in 2002 by Dr. Xisheng Zhang, now company President. The majority of its 30 employees are located in Beijing, China. As a result of this acquisition, Agilent's device modeling R&D and services will expand in Asia, a growing region where many leading foundries reside. The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed in 60 to 90 days. Financial details were not disclosed.