Analog Behavioral Modeling using PSpice by YAdocs


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									Application Note
#PSPA022: Analog Behavioral Modeling using PSpice
 Source:             Orcad Technical Support
 Revised by:         Brian Hirasuna                         April 1999
 Edited by:          David Busdeicker                       March 2000

Modeling new device types requires more than the polynomial sources provided by
PSpice. PSpice extensions allow arbitrary equations and/or table lookup. These
extensions are also useful for black-box system level modeling. Examples are
presented of both types of behavioral modeling.


Behavioral Modeling is the process of developing a model for a device or system
component from the viewpoint of externally observed behavior rather than from a
microscopic description.

Two important applications of Behavioral Modeling in the domain of analog
simulation are modeling new device types and black-box modeling of complex

This paper discusses extensions made to PSpice to support these applications and
presents detailed examples of each.

Extending simulators

Analog simulators generally contain built-in models for a limited number of devices.
Simulating a circuit containing a device not contained in the intrinsic set requires
extending the simulator in some way. There are three ways to extend PSpice and
related simulators: use a polynomial controlled source, modify the simulator code to
add a new model, or build a macro model. PSpice Behavioral Modeling provides an
alternative way to extend simulator capability.

This approach can be used to represent simple ideal devices such as
multipliers, squarers, etc. In opamp-type feedback loops it can be used
to implement buffers, square root devices and so on. Modeling more
complex devices usually requires a combination of curve-fitting and
macro modeling techniques.
Polynomial approximations work best when the function modeled
satisfies the following criteria: it must be smooth (the function and its
derivatives must be continuous); and it must go to plus or minus infinity
with the independent variable(s). Functions that do not behave in this
fashion may be approximated over a restricted range of values. It may
be impossible to get a usable model of a function whose inputs span a
large range and where the output must be accurately specified in a
small region.

Code modification

Any simulator can be extended to include new types of device by
writing code similar to that already in place for the basic PSpice set. A
few vendors provide a mechanism for users to do this. Languages are
typically Fortran or C.

There are significant problems with this approach. The environment in
which PSpice device code operates is far from simple. Expert
programming skills are required both to ensure that the additional code
operates as expected and that the simulator continues to operate
correctly. Additionally, detailed understanding of the PSpice
implementation is required. This is likely to be a feasible approach only
in academic environments or device foundries.

Once a simulator has been modified, it is (self-evidently) nonstandard.
This is a potential problem if the simulation ever has to be run on
another simulator. Additionally, each time a new version of the
(unmodified) simulator becomes available, the porting and validation
effort will have to be repeated.

Macro models

A device can be modeled by constructing a macro model using existing
primitives. This approach works well for composite devices such as
optocouplers. There is typically a one-to-one correspondence between
components of the composite device and those of the macro model,
although some functions may be abstracted using controlled voltage or
current sources.

The approach does not work so well when the device characteristics are
given in equation form or as a set of measured values. In these cases it
may be necessary to resort to techniques such as synthesizing a log
function by converting voltage to current, passing this through an ideal
diode and sensing the voltage across the diode. Macro models built
using these techniques soon become complex, difficult to maintain, and
can be slow and inaccurate.

Functional approach

The capabilities of a simulator can be extended by including the ability
to evaluate expressions which are functions of circuit variables
(voltages, currents, simulation time). The microgrammar that defines
the language may include constructs such as assignment and explicit
control statements ("procedural"); or it may exclude these

The functional approach works well when device characteristics are
known in equation form, and the device is state-free. It is not so useful
when only a physical model of device behavior is available or when the
device has several internal states.

A significant advantage over code modification is that no changes have
to be made when new versions of the simulator are released. A
disadvantage is that there is no standardization across the various
simulators offering a behavioral modeling capability.

PSpice expressions are nonprocedural. This means that there are no
assignments and no if-then-else type constructs. (The issue of
procedural versus nonprocedural is called religion in software jargon.)
PSpice syntax is nonprocedural: the input netlist contains facts about
device node connections and parameter values. PSpice extensions follow
this precedent, for consistency and to meet the requirements of the user
base, who are primarily non-programmers.

A summary of PSpice extensions, together with some simple examples,
is given below.

Time domain

   •   arbitrary expressions; can include constants, parameters, node
       voltages & currents, TIME, math functions including log, exp,
       and trig

   •   table lookups; value of a controlling expression is linearly
       interpolated in a table

   •   Laplace expressions; including constants, parameters, and math
       functions in S including log, exp, and trig

   •   table lookups; magnitude and phase are linearly interpolated in a

Device modeling

Modeling a tunnel diode

The tunnel diode has frequently been used as an example of PSpice
device modeling using polynomials. The static current/voltage
characteristic of the device contains a region of negative dynamic
resistance. The transitions from positive to negative resistance and back
again are smooth - there are no discontinuities in slope and the device
does not exhibit hysteresis. The device is only operated in the vicinity of
the negative resistance region; typically a span of one or two volts.

These attributes make the device eminently suitable for polynomial
representation (it is no coincidence that this device has been used for
illustration so often in the past).

Main characteristics of a tunnel diode current/voltage curve are peak
voltage and current (Vp, Ip), valley voltage and current (Vv, Iv) and
projected peak voltage (Vpp). Specific device parameters for this


Figure 1 - Tunnel diode characteristics

Using Behavioral Modeling: Current flow in a tunnel diode is due to
three distinct effects [1]: thermal current (analogous to a conventional
diode), tunnel current (due to direct tunneling) and excess current (due
to indirect tunneling). Writing these three terms in PSpice’s extended
syntax, we get the following:
Figure 2 - Behavioral model for a tunnel diode


Consider modeling devices with parameters different from the example
set used above, for example to produce a library of devices for general
use. The polynomial approach would require a set of coefficients for
each distinct device. This becomes impractical for anything more than a
handful of devices. It may be possible to define a "generic" tunnel diode
device and map inputs and outputs appropriately, but it is not
intuitively obvious what mapping to use.

The functional approach is much better suited to setting up libraries of
devices owing to the presence of parameters in the equations. To model
a device with a different value for Vp, for example, only that
parameter’s value needs to be updated. Note also that in the basic
equations above, the temperature dependence is included (Vt). A
subcircuit definition can be used to package the tunnel diode model and
its parameters:

.SUBCKTT Dak PARAMS:Vp=50mv Ip=5ma Vv=0.3v Iv=0.3ma
Gthermal a k...
Gtunnel a k...
Gexcess a k...

X1 4 5 TD PARAMS:Vp=55mv ; override 50mv default

For more difficult devices, where straightforward equations may not be
available, or where the relationship between the parameters in the
equations and data sheet values for the device is not obvious, a lookup
table approach may be used. Where possible, a normalized device
characteristic can be modeled by the table, with parameterized
expressions used to transform inputs and outputs.

System modeling

Behavioral Modeling as abstraction

In the early stages of system design, the emphasis is on high-level issues
rather than on low-level details. Behavioral models allow systems to be
simulated with reduced complexity and with improved computational

A simple example is using a controlled source as a gain block rather
than using a complete operational amplifier model:

PSpice extensions allow black-box simulation of many high-level circuit
elements. The use of arbitrary expressions, lookup tables and Laplace
formulations are powerful tools.

Modeling a phase-locked loop

To contrast the high-level and low-level modeling approaches, consider
a simple phase-locked loop (Figure 3). Phase-locked loops contain three
major components: a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO); a Phase
Detector which compares the output of the VCO with the input (target)
signal to derive an error signal; and a Loop Filter. The inverted output
of the Loop Filter becomes the controlling voltage for the VCO, thus
forming a negative feedback control loop.
Figure 3 - Phase-locked loop

Mathematical Description: The general time-domain equation for a
phase-locked loop can be written as:

φo' = Ksin[φi(t)-φo(t)]Θf(t)

The input signal yi and the VCO output signal yo are given by:


The symbol Θ represents convolution, and f(t) is the impulse response of
the filter.

This nonlinear differential equation is not solvable in the general case.
Approximate solutions may be found when the equation is linearized.
The typical case where the loop filter is a simple RC network when
linearized gives rise to a second-order linear differential equation.

Behavioral Model:

Each of the three main components of the PLL can be expressed
succinctly in PSpice’s extended Behavioral Modeling syntax.
The Phase Detector is a multiplier with the output range constrained to
[-1,+1]. It uses gain blocks, limiters, and a multiplier.

The VCO is described as a sinusoidal function of time with an
additional term controlling the phase:

The Loop filter is single pole RC. The output of the loop filter is the
error signal. The Loop Filter could also be conveniently described by
giving its Laplace Transform, using s-domain notation.

The limiter block is a non-linear table, which shifts levels for the VCO
A complete phase-locked loop description consists of these four
"devices," along with a test stimulus (a VCO).

Figure 4 - Phase-locked loop transient waveform

A transient analysis is run to analyze Capture and lock ranges. The
PLL does not respond to the input signal until the input frequency
reaches the lower edge of the Capture range. Up to the lower Capture
frequency, the VCO output frequency does not change significantly
since the average voltage of the beat frequency is zero. The model then
suddenly locks to the input signal, causing a negative jump in loop error
voltages. Here we see the nonlinear Capture transients.

Once locked, the error signal tracks small frequency changes of the
input signal by generating additional phase error between the VCO and
the input signal. This signal is converted to the DC error voltage by the
phase detector and low-pass filter.
At the upper lock range frequency, the model loses lock, and the error
voltage suddenly drops and then becomes a beat note.

Circuit level model:

A model of the same PLL was developed using bipolar transistor
circuits. The VCO was an astable multivibrator with the charging
current proportional to the VCO control voltage. The multiplier was a
double-balanced modulator using 6 BJTs. The Loop Filter consisted of
two resistors and a capacitor. A complete description consists of these
circuit fragments, together with power supplies, bias resistors, bypass
capacitors, etc.

Comparing the two approaches:

Table 1 contrasts the two approaches to modeling the PLL. Compared
with the Circuit model, it took about 20% of the time to develop the
Behavioral model, and the transient analysis ran in about 4% of the
time. The time required to run the analysis is significant. The
behavioral model allows many more analyses to be run in a given time,
permitting a higher degree of design refinement and/or test.

Table 1 - Comparison of Modeling Approaches

             Model                        Behavior        Circuit
Devt. Time                            1 day          5 days
Simulation time                       24 sec*        606 sec*
* lines                               9              43
* Run times measured on a Sun 4/110

Future challenges

Modeling state behavior

Many real devices exhibit two or more stable states. Transitions
between these states occur under well-defined circumstances. For
example, consider a spark gap. This has two persistent states. An arc
may be present, in which case the device is in its ON (low resistance)
state. Or there may be no arc, in which case the device is in its OFF
state. A combination of applied voltage and dV/dt causes the device to
transition from its OFF to its ON state, via a transitory "arc forming"
phase. If the arc current falls below a holding value, the device turns
OFF, via an "arc extinguishing" phase.

The question arises how to model this kind of device with PSpice-based
simulators. Macro models are difficult to construct. Representing the
state variable requires some component with memory. Possibilities
include hysteresis blocks and digital primitives (if a mixed-mode
simulator is available). Neither of these offers an easy or elegant

Managing convergence and time-step control

Behavioral models are not restricted to well-behaved devices like the
tunnel diode. Devices with abrupt behavior can be readily modeled
using the TABLE forms and the logarithmic and exponential functions.
To ensure that the simulator takes small enough steps, convergence
control may be necessary in these models. For TABLE devices, this can
be implemented by setting the internal non-convergence indicator if an
attempt is made to skip from a section of the TABLE device to another
section that is not an immediate neighbor.

For other forms, the proposed output at a given time step could be
compared with the previous output and absolute and/or relative delta
criteria applied. If the test failed, the time step would be reduced. The
criteria could be specified per device, with global default values.

Controlling the time step may be necessary not only for convergence,
but also from sampling considerations. Interpolation schemes are used
for graphical display of the simulation results. The time step must be
constrained so that voltage/current changes are within the scope of the

It is not possible to deduce the frequency domain behavior of devices
specified by arbitrary expressions. There is a risk of aliasing occurring
if the initial and subsequent choices of timestep produce "reasonable"
(but subsampled) values of a periodic function. For example, suppose
there is a 1 MHz source in the circuit and the initial time step is chosen
as 10 µS. If each subsequent time step is also 10 µS, the apparent value
of the source will be 0.
In practice, this kind of subsampling will be readily noticed. It can be
avoided by manually setting the step ceiling.


Analog Behavioral Modeling has two immediate, highly practical uses:

   •   It can be used to extend the capability of an existing simulator to
       model new devices and sources, without modifying the
       simulator’s source code.
   •   It can also be used to design systems at an abstract level, ensuring
       that the concepts are correct, before proceeding with the detailed
       circuit-level design.


The author would like to thank his colleagues on the PSpice team for
their helpful suggestions and creative ideas.


[1] S. M. Sze, Physics of Semiconductor Devices, Wiley & Sons, 1981, ch.
9, p529.

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