Microwave Journal

Synthesis and Simulation Converge in CST STUDIO SUITE 2015

January 14, 2015

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Simulation helps engineers analyze and optimize products, while synthesis software helps them select and create designs. Alone, these are powerful tools for the development of any electromagnetic device. Combined, they complement and strengthen each other. With the release of the CST STUDIO SUITE® 2015, synthesis, design and optimization are now more tightly integrated into the simulation workflow.

New design tools for filter synthesis, phased array creation and decoupling capacitor optimization supplement the tight integration with the antenna synthesis tool, Antenna Magus, and the matching circuit synthesis tool, Optenni Lab. New, fully parametric import options from leading computer-aided design (CAD) software allows CST STUDIO SUITE to be integrated into a wide range of external workflows.

Phased Array Wizard

Although complex to design, phased arrays offer excellent performance and beam steering. For engineers working on array design, CST STUDIO SUITE 2015 introduces the Phased Array Wizard. This tool helps design both the individual element and the full array layout, in a single smooth workflow.

First, a unit cell simulation calculates the performance of the individual elements, including the active element impedance and pattern. These are used to optimize the element across all scan angles and frequencies, and array performance is estimated from the array factor.

Once the element is designed, the full array is created.  The user defines the excitation and layout, including passive elements, and the Phased Array Wizard automatically creates a full 3D model of the array, including the feed, mounting brackets and radome. The simulation also produces a field source for analysis of installed performance.

Filter Designer 2D

The recent addition of Filter Designer 2D (FD2D) to CST STUDIO SUITE significantly improves planar filter design. FD2D is based on trusted, mature filter synthesis technology from Nuhertz and is directly integrated into CST STUDIO SUITE. The user specifies the filter requirements, and FD2D recommends suitable topologies. Users compare these suggestions to find the filter type that best suits their needs.

Once the filter is selected, FD2D automatically exports the filter schematic directly into the simulation project. Filters can be integrated into larger devices and simulated with the circuit simulation tools included in CST STUDIO SUITE. Planar filters can be automatically assembled in full 3D, allowing users to fine tune the design, investigate installed performance and calculate thermal detuning.

Parametric Import Tools

Increasingly, CAD tools are becoming full project managers, capable of storing vast amounts of information about the design project.To improve integration with these powerful tools, CST STUDIO SUITE 2015 supports fully parametric import from SOLIDWORKS 2013 and PTC Creo™ Elements™ 5.0. Models that are imported include the design parameters that have been defined, making it easier to incorporate simulation into the design process.

Complete Near field Source Coupling

Excitation using near field sources to the frequency domain solver and the asymptotic solver is included. This means all of the general-purpose high frequency solvers in CST STUDIO SUITE are fully compatible, enabling hybridized simulation for a wide range of applications.

For example, it is now possible to use inward-facing near field sources from a complex device to irradiate a single component in the frequency domain solver or to use the near field of an antenna as the excitation for an installed performance simulation using the asymptotic solver. Measured near field sources can be used with these solvers, allowing physical components to be incorporated into virtual prototypes.

Radar Cross Section

Radar cross section (RCS) has long been a major application for CST STUDIO SUITE, and the 2015 release introduces several new features that further increase RCS capabilities. The asymptotic solver now supports frequency, angle and polarization dependent radar absorbing material (RAM), allowing these coatings to be simulated more accurately.

Figure 1

Figure 1 RCS map for an aircraft.

The solvers now automatically produce RCS maps – plots of RCS versus incident angle and frequency, as shown in Figure 1 – that help identify the causes of scattering.

PCB Simulation

When designing PCBs and packages, a full 3D simulation is often necessary to understand the behavior of the board, components and housing. Discretizing a complex multilayer board accurately is time consuming, so a new tetrahedral meshing technique optimized specifically for printed structures has been developed. This algorithm intelligently identifies and meshes standard structures such as signal lines, reference planes and vias. For complex packages, it can reduce meshing time by more than 85 percent.

Figure 2

Figure 2 The decap optimization tool, showing the circuit board (left), impedance curves for several decoupling capacitor configurations (center) and the Pareto frontier (right).

Also, the placement of decoupling capacitors can now be optimized automatically with the Pareto frontier optimizer (see Figure 2). This balances cost with performance and helps find the most cost-effective solution to power integrity issues.

Quad Meshing

The integral equation solver and the multilayer solver, respectively used to simulate electrically large and planar structures, have improved performance due to the new quad-based surface mesh. Using quadrilaterals instead of triangles, the new mesh reduces the number of unknowns and reduces simulation time.

High Performance Computing

Support for the Intel® Xeon Phi™ hardware acceleration family and for high-performance cluster storage increases the high performance computing capabilities of the 2015 release.

CST STUDIO SUITE 2015 introduces a range of new features that make synthesis, simulation and optimization of designs more efficient. All of these are built into CST STUDIO SUITE, broadening its capabilities while maintaining the familiar user interface.

Computer Simulation Technology