Antennas are the lifeblood of connected, mobile and many emerging IoT products. Consumers expect a reliable connection every time; anything short can kill a product launch or, worse yet, tarnish a corporate brand. That’s the market reality. The engineering reality is that there are significant engineering challenges associated with designing antennas and radio systems, including providing reliable connectivity and maintaining reasonable performance within an ever shrinking design footprint. Many of today’s devices need to operate in an increasingly crowded radio spectrum with the possibility of co-site conditions, operation near the human body and other challenging installed environments.
As wireless communication has rapidly evolved, ANSYS HFSS has kept pace with every industry advance. As the industry’s standard solution for simulating wireless devices and systems, HFSS can now solve multiple antennas and radio systems together in a full system. We are continuously building upon state-of-the-art solver technologies to tackle the biggest challenges and demands of antenna designers. With ANSYS 17.2, I’m particularly proud of the highly automated antenna design workflows and solutions, which I will describe in the following sections.
Antenna Design Toolkit
In ANSYS 17.2, we have further streamlined setup and analysis of customized antennas and simulation workflows. Specifically, we have created an ANSYS ACT toolkit for antenna designers that includes simulation-ready HFSS designs for over 50 commonly used antenna types. You can just select an antenna from the library and enter a few critical design parameters. All the boundaries, excitations, simulation parameters, reports and plots are generated automatically. We have found the toolkit to be highly educational, especially to those new to high frequency electromagnetic simulation. It also enables antenna designers to take advantage of simulation earlier in the design process. We have recently added new antenna types to the toolkit, , including GPS Patch Ceramic, UHF Probe, Quasi Yagi and Blade Antennas. In addition, we have also extended our 3-D Component library with human body models to simulation the effects of skin and the human body on wearable device performance.
Like many electrical components, it is necessary to share and reuse antenna models with partners and system integrators while encrypting design IP. ANSYS HFSS has a unique capability that enables you to create and share complex designs within your organization or your supply chain. We call this capability 3-D Components, and in ANSYS 17.1 we added support for editing the component definition. This feature will make it significantly easier to manage 3-D Components, as you will no longer need to go back to the original project to edit the component definition. You can now enter a password to conveniently edit the component directly from its definition file or from the project in which it is being used.
Integration of Shooting and Bouncing Ray Technology
An antenna that works fine in free space may not be able to connect to the network when placed in a complex operating environment. ANSYS HFSS delivers a complete solution for antenna designers with multiple solver technologies to cover such applications. You can easily create models with multiple antennas on complex structures using component library models with mesh assembly. However, such systems can become computationally impractical using traditional finite element technology. Solving antenna system behavior on large platforms or RF environments (for example, antennas on a large ship or automobile) you can deploy our new “Shooting and Bouncing Ray (SBR)” technology in HFSS.
ANSYS acquired the SBR technology in its acquisition of Delcross Technologies in August 2015. In 17.1, we packaged HFSS-to-Savant and HFSS-to-EMIT toolkits with HFSS. The toolkits are used to export antenna geometry, along with near-field and far-field representations from HFSS. In 17.2, we made the integration more seamless by providing an option to launch Savant and EMIT directly from ANSYS Electronics Desktop.
More interestingly, when these commands are run from within an HFSS design, as in the picture below, the toolkits are pre-populated with the HFSS design data and, after clicking the export option, the toolkits launch Savant or EMIT automatically with the imported data from HFSS.
In summary, antenna designers have relied on ANSYS HFSS for years to accurately predict critical antenna parameters like gain, input impedance, polarization and coupling. We strive to provide advanced new capabilities that support antenna designers for a broad range of applications. As our world becomes increasingly wirelessly connected, more demands are placed on antenna systems for performance and radio system coexistence. New features in ANSYS 17.2 support these trends by offering an integrated antenna workflow with strong simulation technologies, advanced automation and opportunities to share designs across the industry.