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Software aids electromagnetic part design

Vector Fields is launching a new version of its high-frequency electromagnetic package, Concerto.

Many additions to the electronic design automation (EDA) software - including new and enhanced solvers, sophisticated model parameterisation and an enhanced scripting capability - provide the means to rapidly create and optimise complex radio and microwave designs.

Kevin Ward of Vector Fields says: "The burgeoning high-frequency market has led to escalating design complexity coupled with a severe shortage of skilled designers. Concerto's integrated design-simulate-optimise tool allows organisations to reduce costly design iteration cycles and achieve the optimal solution much faster. It can cut months from the most challenging of projects, from the design of complex microstrip and waveguide devices, to developing portable communications products with multi-band operation or antenna diversity, to understanding signal propagation."

Concerto series 6 offers a comprehensive suite of electromagnetic design capabilities, using powerful geometric modelling to provide 2D and 3D simulation and design optimisation.

Component or system models can be imported from CAD programs or created using a powerful, built-in, 3D geometric modeller. To speed the design process, a major enhancement is the inclusion of a 'parameterised history stream', allowing complete models to be easily modified and replayed. This makes it simple to save portions of code as script-like shortcuts for designers who regularly create variations of similar products, such as antennas.

When a design model is ready, users now have a choice of three simulation methods to characterise performance. As standard, Concerto offers a 3D finite difference time domain (FDTD) simulator, which has very broad ranging applicability. A 2D FDTD simulator for axisymmetric geometry is available with this release, allowing rotationally symmetric structures such as some horn antennas or coaxial components to be simulated extremely rapidly. A further time-saving feature comes in the form of adaptive meshing, which allows users to use the most efficient mesh resolution for the accuracy of design required.

Depending on the application, users have two further simulation options. A method of moments (MoM) tool provides a very good platform for simulating large environment problems such as installed antenna performance. A comprehensive suite of interactive post-processing tools targeted at antenna design has also been added in series 6. These include a tool for investigating coupling/immunity between multiple antennas - developed following many user requests.

To this capability, series 6 adds a new finite element method (FEM) tool that provides an elegant means of performing Eigen value analysis for problems such as characterising microwave resonator and cavity designs. Together, this selection gives designers the means to choose the best and fastest approach for solving an extremely diverse range of problems.

Design optimisation is made even faster by several enhancements. Models can be parameterised using variables, making it simple to perform 'what if' investigations. A new version of the package's optimiser tool allows users to set design goals for several parameters simultaneously, and the software will automatically find the best solution to fine-tune performance, cost, real estate or other user-defined characteristics.

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Date: December 12, 2006