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Modelithics Talks 3D Components — Why, When, How?

The use of 3D modeling in electromagnetic (EM) analysis is a crucial step in circuit design flows, as wireless technology moves to smaller scales and more compact designs. Although planar, “2.5D” EM co-simulation can provide useful insight into interconnect and grounding effects for most planar structures, it is not generally capable of accounting for the coupling between 3D components that can drastically affect design performance. However, full-wave, 3D EM analysis can accurately predict these coupling effects between components. 3D EM simulations allow designers to have a more complete picture of how their designs will function once fabricated. This is especially important for small form factor (SFF), miniaturized wireless devices including wearables.

3D Geometry model Plot of electric field

When all physical geometries and material properties (of components) are available to the designer, a complete 3D geometry model can be created for use in EM simulation. The advantage of this approach is that all of the electromagnetic field interactions can be captured in the simulation and visualized by the designer. This provides the designer with unique insight into how their circuit is working. The designer is able to see whether or not significant interactions will occur between closely spaced components, or between components and the chosen grounding and packaging environment. Unfortunately, obtaining these geometries and material property details may prove difficult, if not impossible, for most designers since these details are typically manufacturers’ closely guarded intellectual property (IP). And, obtaining these details is only half of the battle. The accuracy of simulation results depends heavily on correct simulation setup, and the ability to mimic the physical measurement environment. In addition to a properly calibrated simulation setup, accurate measurement validation procedure (even if only for selected test cases) can provide extra confidence in the final simulation results.

To help designers avoid these challenges, Modelithics is using its measurement and modeling expertise, along with its time-tested relationships built on trust with selected vendors, to develop a library of encrypted 3D components for use in ANSYS HFSS software for simulating high-frequency EM fields. All models included in the Modelithics COMPLETE+3D Library for ANSYS HFSS are measurement validated (typically on multiple substrates), documented with a model information data sheet and encrypted to protect manufacturer IP. The designer can simply drop the models from the palette onto their test fixture and use the models in their 3D simulation.

3D Model versus measurement agreement, 4 mil 3D Model versus measurement agreement, 10 mil 3D Model versus measurement agreement, 60 mil

3D EM simulation is an extremely powerful tool and is growing in popularity with microwave system and circuit designers due to the excellent model-to-measurement results that can be obtained when 3D component models are properly constructed and validated. The ability to encrypt these models should lead to a growing availability of useful libraries for designers seeking to compact their designs and  account for increasingly complex component interactions.

Learn More

Watch the webinar “Solving RF and Microwave Design Issues Using 3D Component Modeling” and learn where 3D modeling is required for accurate circuit performance prediction.

Modelithics’ COMPLETE+3D Library for ANSYS HFSS includes a sampling of 3D models for several different types of components, including inductors, capacitors, SMA connectors, LTCC filters and QFN packages.

This blog was co-authored by Dr. Larry Dunleavy, co-founder of Modelithics, Inc.