[SI-LIST] : Free 3D Planar EM simulator

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From: Shawn Carpenter (scarp@sonnetusa.com)
Date: Wed Nov 10 1999 - 12:20:03 PST


Dear SI experts:

This is a pitch for a free planar EM solver.

Sonnet Software is offering a free full-wave 3D planar EM simulator on our
web site, called Sonnet Lite. Although the simulator is aimed primarily at
microwave and millimeter wave designers, it does apply quite well to some
PCB and other planar transmission-line structures. It can also include vias
in your structure. Sonnet Lite is based on our Sonnet EM Suite of tools
which have been used commercially in the microwave design community since
1989.

Sonnet Lite is available at: http://www.sonnetusa.com/lite/index.htm

It's based on a full wave Method of Moments approach, and will provide
electrical characterization of 1 and 2-layer printed circuit/PCB trace
constructs. You give it the physical structure of transmission lines and
board materials, and it gives you:

+ S,Y,Z parameter data
+ characteristic impedance for the transmission line(s) connected to the
source(s)
+ Simple SPICE model extraction
+ Visualization and animation of current density

It's a frequency domain solver, so it gives you output on a
frequency-by-frequency basis. The full commercial package is currently used
by customers over a frequency range of about 10 MHz through several THz.
You have the freedom to analyze any arrangement you can draw.

Sonnet Lite will tackle structures with up to:

- 4 ports (circuit/load connections)
- 3 dielectric layers (constant throughout unless interrupted by vias)
- 2 arbitrary metal layers for circuit traces and arbitrary metal placement
- vias
- ground planes for bottom and/or top of the stackup
- 16 MB RAM required to solve the problem

It won't solve the world, but it will do a very nice job on a subset of
board or chip structures.
As I mentioned before, you can also view and animate the surface current
density computed by the solver with respect to frequency or time. It's a
good "intuition builder" to see where current is (and where it isn't). I
have attached a small gif file showing current density computed by Sonnet
Lite for a planar transmission line (microstrip in this case) bend at 1000
MHz as a sample output. The plot represents high current density in red,
with lower current densities registering in the blue spectrum.

You can download the Sonnet Lite software from our web site (download size
is about 12 MB), and you can use it for small circuits (requiring under 1 MB
to solve) without need to register it with us. If you want to use it for
larger circuits (requiring up to 16 MB to solve) you will need to register
the software with us via email (a registration program builds the email for
you, but leaves the actual process of emailing in your hands). Uncompressed
disk space requirements is about 25 MB. Project space needs are very small;
usually on the order of 10 to 50kB.

If you want the CD-ROM, just send me an Email and I'll mail it to you.

Some of you may find it to be a useful tool. And the price is right. :-)

Thanks.

--Shawn



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