Microwave Journal
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Antenna Magus Version 5: Synthesis to Meet Specification

March 14, 2014

Antenna Magus Version 5: Synthesis to Meet Specification

From satellites to motor vehicles; from mobile telephones to radio-telescopes – a vast array of different antenna types are used in almost every modern industry and application. Engineers and system designers are regularly faced with the task of improving and adjusting these antennas or identifying, designing and evaluating new antenna options to meet changing system requirements. Antenna Magus – a commercial antenna design tool, targeted at helping engineers complete antenna design, evaluation and integration projects quickly and reliably – addresses these issues.

Antenna Database

Antenna Magus provides a large searchable database that is regularly expanded and updated. The database currently stands at more than 225 antenna types in the latest version. Each antenna incorporates accurate concise information compiled by an experienced antenna engineer in an easily searchable, standardized format.

Clear diagrams of the physical antenna structure as well as guidelines for antenna customization and references to literature are included. Antennas can be sorted and filtered based on standardized search terms, helping identify candidates according to required performance criteria before embarking on a design.

The best approach for designing an antenna is often ambiguous. Published literature may be unclear or contradictory and therefore provide insufficient information for confident design choices to be made. Antenna Magus incorporates a flexible expert design system that has been thoroughly tested for a wide range of design criteria. This allows engineers to get initial designs suitable for a broad range of applications, including telecommunications, mobile devices, aerospace, satellite, automotive, radio astronomy and defense, in a matter of seconds.

Also, an estimate of the performance of each design can be considered before continuing with prototyping or more detailed 3D modeling. In estimating the performance, assumptions are made and approximations are used where possible to dramatically reduce analysis time while still maintaining reasonable accuracy.

The dimensions calculated by the Antenna Magus Design algorithms may be adjusted within a bounded range after design. The resultant structure can be re-analysed. This approach allows efficient comparison of designs as well as investigation of how localized changes to specific parameters affect performance.

Automatic CAD Model Export

Modern computational electromagnetic (CEM) analysis tools play an integral role in the design process. Antenna Magus does not aim to replace these tools, but rather complements them in the overall design and analysis process. Once an initial design that warrants further investigation has been completed in Antenna Magus, a parametric and ‘ready-to-run’ model of the as-designed antenna can be exported in formats that can be opened seamlessly in leading CEM tools.

The generated model provides a reliable starting point for the investigation of structural modifications (adding holes in substrates or including feed-matching structures) and environmental effects (such as EMC coupling or placement studies) required to arrive at a final design. Each model leverages the best methods and parametric modeling approaches available in the analysis tool and is validated against reference data or measurements.

New Features

Besides the addition of new antenna types to the database, Antenna Magus has introduced many new capabilities. These include tools that allow users to add their own antenna topologies with related information to the database, a powerful array synthesis tool and libraries of commercially available waveguides and substrates.

Figure 1

Figure 1 An example of new antenna types from Antenna Magus Version 5.0: A truncated parabolic grid reflector with a 'gooseneck' feed (a), Potter-horn with a spiral dielectric phase-plate or lens used to realize a bore-sight null (b) and a tapered dielectric rod antenna (c).

In the second quarter of 2014, the release of Antenna Magus Version 5 will see further functionality as well as new antenna types (such as those illustrated in Figure 1) added to the database. One focus of the new features is to ensure that Antenna Magus caters to a wider range of design requirements by introducing tools to help the designer use the information that he or she has. Intelligent design choices for required input values that are not known by the designer will be made automatically. Information (such as sketches, estimated performance plots and parameter values) can also be exported to the clipboard or a file, making material generated during the design process more accessible.

Figure 2

Figure 2 The chart-tracing tool inside the Specification Library showing the automatic extraction of radiation performance values from a scanned image. The extracted values can be used to define a design specification.

Specification Library

In the new Specification Library, detailed specifications for many industries and applications will be included. These may be used to quickly find antennas that are candidates for that application and to populate the design inputs for any antenna – accelerating the design process. Users may add specifications describing the requirements of their own applications to the Specification Library and use them in the same way.

The Specification Library includes advanced tools to help capture information regarding the specification requirements. One such tool is the chart-tracing tool which allows digitization of data and automatic extraction of fundamental quantities (such as sidelobe-level or 10 dB bandwidth) as shown in Figure 2.

Also, an automatic update mechanism, making it easier to keep up to date with the latest antennas and designs, will be released in Version 5. This mechanism will allow the user to check for new updates on the Antenna Magus website. Available updates can be downloaded and installed automatically from inside the Antenna Magus interface.

Antenna Magus is an extensive and flexible antenna synthesis package, with a continuously expanding set of easy-to-use, powerful, flexible tools focusing on the needs of engineers involved with the design and modeling of antennas.

Magus (Pty) Ltd.,
Stellenbosch, South Africa
+27 21 880 0565,
www.antennamagus.com