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August 1997


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VTCAD Developed
For Electronics Class

VTCADThe VTCAD browser.

Students who took last semester's EE 4214 Electronics course (semiconductor devices and materials) used a custom web browser to access an industrial simulation tool that is typically available only to professionals with high-performance workstations.

Using a specially designed browser interface developed by Ray Miller (EE '97), students performed 2D and 3D simulations of semiconductor devices using Technology CAD (TCAD) simulation tools.

"As semiconductor devices have become smaller and faster, physical simulation has become essential for engineers involved in leading-edge semiconductor design and manufacturing," explained Professor Alex Huang, who taught the course. "I wanted the students to study visual images of what was going on," he said.

The problem was that the powerful TCAD simulation tools require more computing power and CAD experience than students typically have. The solution was to run TCAD on Huang's server and to develop an easy-to-use interface for the students to access.

Miller, one of the students in the class, had several years of experience working with web technologies, and volunteered to develop the interface. Called VTCAD, Miller's preliminary version of the browser was available in time for the rest of the class to run simulations and study the electrical characteristics of a P+NN+ diode. Although there were problems with server access, the project gave most of the students a better understanding of the process.

"This project allowed me to see firsthand the effects of parameters on a physical device," reported Jonathan Dubovsky (EE '97). "It is one thing to look at a theoretical model in a textbook, but it is another to see such a model implemented on a complex level in a more lifelike simulation."

The Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Virginia Tech

Last Updated, November 23, 1997
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