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An Implementation of a simplified version of the

EKV MOSFET Model in Matlab and Verilog-A for

simulation in Cadence
G. Angelov1), M. Hristov
Technical University of Sofia, Faculty of Electronics Engineering and Technology
8 Kliment Ohridski Str
1797 Sofia, Bulgaria
Abstract- The paper presents an open source
implementation of the EKV MOSFET compact model in
Matlab and in Verilog-A codes; the Verilog-A code is simulated
in Cadence Spectre circuit simulator. The implemented EKV
model uses a simplified formulation given by Godfrey and
Lazzaro with explicit threshold voltage (rather than explicit
pinch-off voltage). Verification is performed against
measurements taken from the literature and against the
simulation results obtained by simulation with the conventional
BSIM3v3 compact model of a 0.35 m CMOS technology
design kit.



For circuit-level design of CMOS analog and radio

frequency integrated circuits, the compact MOSFET model
is the key enabler to efficiently achieving the analog design
goals. Recently, the demand for flexible, consistent,
physics-based and full-featured compact models has
increased particularly in view of the sub-100 nm CMOS
Generally, MOSFET device models are built-in circuit
simulators using general-purpose programming languages
like C/C++ or Fortran. Accordingly, they are targeted
specifically to the interface and internal data structures of
their host simulator, and hence are inherently non-portable.
Facilities for adding custom open source models (or userdefined models) have been made available in some
simulation environments, but such interfaces have typically
been non-standard, non-portable, and inefficient. Under
these conditions, modification/optimization of a model or
new model creation becomes a time-consuming and errorprone task.
A comprehensive attitude to overcome this gap between
model development and its implementation in simulators
might be in formulating open source models in analog
HDLs such as Verilog-A/AMS [1]. In the recent years
Verilog-A has become increasingly viewed as a leading
candidate for new compact model development. The recent
rise in interest for Verilog-A based compact model
development has resulted in compiled solutions becoming
available, with an ongoing emphasis on improved
simulation performance.
At the stage of model optimization, the general-purpose
computational package Matlab might be used as a platform
for modifying and testing the model equations. The high

978-1-4244-2551-8/08/$20.00 2008 IEEE

speed calculation in Matlab is also quite useful for

extraction and optimization of model parameters.
In this context the EKV MOSFET model is excellent
example of a compact model suitable for implementation in
Matlab as it provides accurate modeling results while having
small number of parameters. The EKV model employs
many fewer model parameters than the latest BSIM model
versions [2]. And it has been implemented in lots of
commercial circuit simulators (Spectre, PSpice, etc.).
The present paper presents the basic approach to provide
circuit designers with more flexible and straightforward
access to simulation models. That is, to first modify and/or
adapt a compact model for the particular design needs using
general purpose mathematical platform, then to code it into
a HDL, and finally to embed it in a library of the CAD tool
used in the design process, making it available for circuit
designers. In particular, we have first implemented an EKV
model formulation given by Godfrey and Lazzaro [5] (with
explicit formulation of the threshold voltage rather than the
pinch-off voltage) in Matlab, then we have recoded it in
Verilog-A, and finally implemented it as a cellview in
Cadence Spectre simulator.
The original EKV model (Enz, Krummenacher, and
Vittoz) is described in detail in [3] and its version EKV v2.6
(Bucher, Lallement, Enz, Thodoloz, Krummenacher) in
[4]. Despite small number of parameters in EKV v2.6, it still
remains fairly complex. That is why we take the simplified
version of the model set forth by Godfrey and Lazzaro in [5].
The latter model (it is proceeds from the Vittoz-Oguey
approximation for obtaining a single expression for the drain
current) offers simpler treatment of the EKV modeling
methodology while retaining its applicability for circuit
simulations. .
Below, we briefly present the basic equations of the
model formulation by Godfrey-Lazzaro (GL) used in our
implementations in Matlab and Verilog-A.
A. Smoothing Function and Drain Current
For MOSFETs in strong inversion the channel current is a
quadratic function while for MOSFETs in weak inversion
the channel current is an exponential function. Vittoz and

Oguey suggest a formula for the MOSFET channel current

that interpolates (smoothes) these separate expressions [5] :
(x 2)2 , x >> 0
F ( x ) = ln 1 + e
e x , x << 0
This function smoothly interpolates between the quadratic
and exponential operational regimes and allows to express
the MOSFET behavior in the otherwise difficult case of
moderate inversion. The EKV model is based on the same
interpolation approach as well. This is a mathematical trick
and it is not really physically motivated.
Using the smoothing function (1) the channel current for
the MOSFET takes the form

ID =


2U T2

( I F I R )(1 + c V DS )


I F = ln 2 [1 + exp{U 1 [ (VG VTh ) V S ]}]


I R = ln 2 [1 + exp{U 1 [ (VG VTh ) V D ]}]


V + + (V V ) , NMOS(V 0)
VTh =
V FB b b (VB VS ) , PMOS (V BS 0)
The flat band voltage is given by

V FB = ms

Q ss
C ox


ms silicon-oxide interface charge, Qss fixed oxide charge,

Si = 11.7 0.
The Fermi potential (NA the doping concentration) is

b = 2 F = 2U T ln



The body effect coefficient is

C ox

2 10 6 Si

for which the band gap is given with


0.1 b , s1 < 0.1 b

s =
s1 , s1 0.1 b


In (12)


D. Effective Channel Lengths

Effective channel width W, and channel length L
determine the device aspect ratio W/L. Although related to
the metallurgical length, shorter than the mask length
(referred to as drawn length in the Godfrey-Lazzaro
model) owing to lateral diffusion, the effective channel
length is rather an electrical parameter to which drain
current is inversely proportional. Its determination is
strongly correlated with the measurement and modeling of
the I-V characteristics. In Godfrey-Lazzaro model, the
following equations are used to calculate the effective length
and width:
L = Ld 0.33 , W = Wd 0.49

An overall advantage of the Godfrey-Lazzaro model is

that the physical parameters are reasonably independent of
each other and therefore can be separately adjusted to reflect
and fit the device physical behaviors. This enables the
designer to experiment with circuit behavior as a function of
changes in physical parameter values, and associate this
with feasible device fabrication processes.



The intrinsic carrier concentration is

ni = 1.64 1015 T 1.706 e

C ox
C ox + C dep

where Cdep = 10 6 Si 2 s is the depletion capacitance

which is a function of the surface potential s:

s1 = b tanh
B. Threshold Voltage
What differs most in the Godfrey-Lazzaro formulation
compared to the well-recognized EKV model is that
Godfrey and Lazzaro use explicit formulation of the
threshold voltage while the EKV uses explicit formulation
of the pinch-off voltage.
The threshold voltage is

C. Other Quantities
The remaining model quantities in the GL model are
listed below. The transfer parameter (appearing in (2))
= 10 4 C ox
is temperature dependent. Its temperature dependence arises
from the dependence on temperature of the mobility =
In the above equations Cox = qox/tox and


where c is the parameter of channel length modulation, is

the transfer parameter, UT is the thermal voltage UT =
kT/q (0.026 V at 300 K). The forward current and the
reverse current are, respectively, given with

q 1.7 +1.059105T 6.05107T 2 , 0 < T 150

Eg =
q 1.785+ 9.025105T 3.5 107T 2 , 150< T 300

2 kT


The program code was written in the order required by a

sequential processing language like Matlab to allow the
input voltages, VD; VS; VG and VB to be vectors. The
resulting current is returned also as a vector. This makes it
easy to use the code to produce I-V curves. It would be
correspondingly easy to apply the same vectors to test
equipment for device measurement.

lambda_c = Early_s./(Ve + L - L_0) ; % linear

channel length modulation (Early) effect.
V0 = 1./lambda_c;
gamma = (1/Cox)*sqrt (2*e_s*rho*1e6) ; % body
Threshold voltage:
-------------------------------------Vt = Vfb + abs(phi_b) + gamma*sqrt(abs(phi_b)
- Vbs);
phi_s = phi_b*tanh((Vg - (Vfb + Vbs))./Vt);
if(phi_s < phi_b/10) phi_s = phi_b/10; end;
Cdep = sqrt(rho*e_s*1e6./(2.0*phi_s));
kappa = Cox./(Cox + Cdep);

-------------------------------------Notational expressions:
-------------------------------------= 2*beta*(Ut^2)./kappa;
= 1/(2*Ut);
= Vd - Vs;

Core model equations:
= (log(1 + exp(U1*(kappa.*(Vg - Vt) Vs)))).^2;
= (log(1 + exp(U1*(kappa.*(Vg - Vt) Vd)))).^2;
Idsi = (If - Ir);
Ids = k1.*Idsi.*(1 + lambda_c.*Vds);

the measurement results are extracted from the figures in [6].

Afterwards, the respective numeric values are input in
Matlab and Verilog-A versions of the GL model to perform
a comparison (the Verilog-A version is simulated again in
Cadence Spectre). All characteristics have been obtained
using a single parameter set. Since the simulation results of
the Matalb and Verilog-A implementations of the GodfreyLazzaro model give identical results, in the figures below
we denote these results just with a EKV GL simulation
For the simulated characteristics we have calculated the
integral error between each simulated and experimental
characteristic by taking the ratio of the integrals of the
respective curves. The accuracies are in Table I.
In the output characteristic (Figure 1) we observe quite
good agreement between simulation and measurement
results 4.21 % accuracy. For the lower gate voltages (Vg =
1, 1.3 V) we observe discrepancy between measurement/
BSIM3v3 and our simulation of the Godfrey-Lazzaro model.
Figure 1. Output characteristics


x 10

vs. V @ V


EKV GL sim
BSIM3v3 simulation
measurement [6]

The same equations are coded in Verilog-A to create a

cellview in the libraries of Cadence Design Framework.
Below we provide a portion of the GL model Verilog-A

Ids [A]

analog begin
VG = V(g); VS = V(s); VD = V(d);
// Threshold voltage
Vt = Vfb + abs(phi_b) + gamma*sqrt(abs(phi_b)
- Vbs);
// Drain current (66)
Id = k1.*Idi.*(1 + lambda_c.*Vd);



IDS(VDS) @ VGS = 1.020, 1.316, 1.612, 1.908, 2.204 and 2.500 V ;

VBS = 0 V; L = 0.7 m W = 20 m..

In the transfer characteristics (Figure 2) the agreement

between measurement and Godfrey-Lazzaro EKV
implementation is very good 5.38 %.


x 10

vs. V @ V


EKV GL sim
ISI data



end // analog

We simulate a N-channel MOSFET with L = 0.7 m, W =

20 m. In the figures below we present simulation results
obtained by our implementation of the Godfrey-Lazzaro
model, the results obtained by the BSIM3v3 within the
Cadence Spectre simulator (for a 0.35 m CMOS
technology with length set to 0.7 m) and the measurements
taken from [6]. Simulated characteristics are presented in
Figures 1 to 4; they are produced in Matlab. The BSIM3v3
simulation results are taken from the Spectre output file and


Vds [V]

// Branch contributions
I(d,s) <+ Id;





Vgs [V]

Figure 2. Transfer characteristics

IDS(VGS) @ VBS = 2.5, 2.0, 1.5, 1.0, 0.5 and 0 V ;
VDS = 0.05 V; L = 0.7 m W = 20 m.


gmd vs. Vds @ Vgs

x 10

EKV GL sim
ISI data







Figure 3. Transconductance gmd characteristics:

gmd = dIDS/dVDS(VDS) @ VGS = 1.020, 1.316, 1.612, 1.908, 2.204 and
2.500 V ; VBS = 0 V; L = 0.7 m W = 20 m.
g vs. V @ V


x 10



EKV GL sim
ISI data





g = dI /dV


The average accuracy of all the characteristics in Table I

is 7.08 %.



= dI /dV



Accuracy %



A straightforward yet effective approach to manipulate

with compact models for circuit-level design purposes has
been suggested. Simulation results have demonstrated the
validity of the method for analyzing MOSFET device
behaviors with an open source model (Gofrey-Lazzaro
formulation of the EKV model) in a standard IC design
CAD tool (Cadence). The open source code allows direct
access to model equations and parameters where the use of a
general purpose mathematical platform (such as Matlab)
plays an indispensable role. The fact that the model is coded
in a HDL (Verilog-A), makes it portable and applicable to
different simulation environments.
Coupling the flexibility of open source models and their
portable applicability to industry standard IC design tools
leads to real benefits for both design and educational






The present work is carried out within the framework of

the Project BY-TH-115/2005.

Figure 4. Transconductance gm characteristics:

gm = dIDS/dVGS(VGS) @ VBS = 2.5, 2.0, 1.5, 1.0, 0.5 0 V ;
VDS = 0.05 V; L = 0.7 m W = 20 m.


Figures 3 and 4 present the simulated transconductance

gm and gmd characteristics. Here the accuracy is much
lower compared to the other characteristics. This is expected
since these are second order relations.
In Table I are given the average accuracies of the
simulated characteristics with the EKV-GL model.
The results demonstrate the validity of the suggested
method for open simulations using standard HDL model
implementation. The fast and accurate simulations with
accuracy comparable to commercial simulators show the
practical applicability of the method to circuit-design and
optimization purposes. The main advantages are that the
method offers flexibility of modeling by enabling the
designer to directly access model equations and the
portability of the model allowing the use of the model in
different CAD tools.

M. Mierzwinski, P. OHalloran, B. Troyanovsky, R. Dutton,

Changing the paradigm for compact model integration in circuit
simulators using Verilog-A, Technical Proceedings of the 2003
Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show (Nanotech 2003), Vol.
2, February 2003, pp. 376379.
[2] G. Angelov, T. Takov, and St. Risti "MOSFET Models at the Edge
of 100-nm Sizes", Proc. of the 24th Intl. Conf. on Microelectronics
(MIEL 2004), Ni, Serbia and Montenegro, Vol. 1, pp. 295-298, May
[3] C. C. Enz, F. Krummenacher and E. A. Vittoz, An Analytical MOS
Transistor Model Valid in All Regions of Operation and Dedicated to
Low-Voltage and Low-Current Applications, Journal of Analog
Integrated Circuits and Systems Processing, vol. 8, pp. 83114, 1995.
[4] M. Bucher, C. Lallement, C. Enz, F. Thodoloz, F. Krummenacher,
The EPFLEKV MOSFET Model Equations for Simulation,
Technical Report, Model Version 2.6, Revision II (July 1998).]
[5] M. D. Godfrey, J. Lazzaro, A Device Model for Analog VLSI
Circuits, 1997 (available online at
[6] M. Bucher, C. Lallement, C. Enz and F. Krummenacher, Accurate
MOS Modelling for Analog Circuit Simulation usingthe EKV MOST
Model, IEEE ISCAS 96, pp. 703-6 vol.4, 1996.