RF Modelling Software for Optimising Electromagnetics Devices

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Designers of RF and microwave devices need to ensure that the electromagnetics simulations are reliable and robust. Traditional electromagnetic modelling lets you examine RF physics alone, but no real-world product operates under just one branch of physics. To see how other physics phenomena affect the design, you need multiphysics modelling, which allows you to extend the model to include effects such as temperature rise, structural deformations, and fluid flow.

With the RF Module expansion of the COMSOL Multiphysics® simulation platform, you can analyse RF designs in multiphysics scenarios, including microwave and RF heating, all within the same software environment.

Design for the Present and Future with the RF Module

Products, components, and devices can always be improved. With the RF Module, you can optimise designs by investigating effects such as electromagnetic wave propagation, microwave heating, and RF heating — ensuring that you create the best products possible and get ahead of others in your field.

In the fast-paced RF, microwave, and millimeter-wave industries, product development must keep up with advancements in technology. For example, antennas and RF front ends; including filters, couplers, power dividers, and impedance matching circuits; should be compatible with future developments, such as the 5G MIMO network, Internet of Things (IoT), and SatCom.

It is also important to evaluate RF interference and compatibility in wireless communication platforms for the seamless operation of your products for developing applications, including wearable devices, autonomous vehicles, and state-of-the-art microwave and RF products.

Ensure that your organisation is ready to embrace these new technologies, and whatever comes next, with the COMSOL® software.

What You Get with the RF Module

When you expand COMSOL Multiphysics® with the RF Module, you can access features for specialised RF and microwave modelling, in addition to the core functionality of the COMSOL Multiphysics® software platform.

The RF Module includes tools for modeling:
  • Antennas
  • Far-field radiation patterns
  • Antenna gain and directivity
  • S-parameters
  • Input impedance
  • Phased arrays
  • Circuits
  • RFID
  • Biomedical devices
  • Microwave sintering and spectroscopy
  • Bandpass-filter type devices
  • Metamaterials and integrated plasmonics
  • Nanostructures
  • Millimeter-wave and terahertz radiation
  • Resonators and filters
  • Couplers and power dividers
  • Ferrimagnetic devices
  • Near-field communication
  • Bloch-Floquet periodic arrays and structures
  • SAR calculations
  • Microwave ovens
  • Scattering and cross radiation
  • Transmission lines
  • Microstrips
  • Coplanar waveguides
  • Substrate integrated waveguides (SIW)
  • Frequency tunable devices

Multiphysics Couplings

Included in the RF Module:
  • Electromagnetic heating
  • Temperature-dependent material properties
  • Electromagnetic-field-dependent material properties
  • Strain- and stress-dependent material properties and deformed geometry
Accessible with additional modules:
  • Bioheating and biomedical therapy such as microwave ablation and millimeter-wave cancer tissue diagnosis
  • Performance impact due to thermal stress and mechanical deformation
  • Ferrites with magnetic field biasing
  • Piezoelectrically actuated tunable filters
  • Microwave plasma
  • Dielectrophoresis
  • Radiative heat losses

RF Module Features and Functionality

Explore the features and functionality of the RF Module in more detail by expanding the sections below.

Predefined Physics Interfaces: Model Electromagnetics Problems with Ease
Physics Configurations: Define Ports, Cables, Line Currents, and More
Equation-Based Modelling: Modify the Governing Maxwell's Equations for Full Control over Simulations
Meshing: Take Full Control of Your Mesh to Resolve Wavelengths and Describe Domains
Numerical Methods and Studies: Calculate Resonances, Signal Propagation, and Frequencies
Postprocessing Tools: Create Visualisations of Frequency Patterns, Derived Values, and More
Simulation Applications: Customise Your Model Inputs and Outputs for a Streamlined Design Process
You can set up RF or microwave device designs by selecting predefined physics interfaces. These interfaces are packaged with features and functionality for a variety of specific modelling scenarios, so you can set up a model without first figuring out the complex Maxwell's equations that describe the physics.

Whether you need to investigate the electromagnetics of a simple RF device or couple other physical phenomena, such as heat transfer or structural mechanics, you can find what you need in the comprehensive selection of built-in physics interfaces.
Physics-based modelling interfaces in the RF Module:
  • Electromagnetic Waves, Frequency Domain
  • Electromagnetic Waves, Time Explicit
  • Electromagnetic Waves, Transient
  • Transmission Line
  • Electrical Circuits
  • Microwave Heating
Modeling electromagnetics problems calls for extensive options for boundary conditions and geometry settings. Therefore, you will find preset geometry capabilities in the RF Module, whether you are working in a 1D, 2D, or 3D domain.

Choose from a wide variety of detailed boundary conditions to describe metallic boundaries — including impedance boundaries and perfect electric and magnetic conductors — and radiating (absorbing) boundaries, such as scattering boundaries and perfectly matched layers. To reduce model size, the RF Module also supports the definition of periodic boundary conditions.

The variety of boundary conditions covers a wide range of design scenarios, allowing you to model the geometry of ports, cables, devices, and other components and complex geometries.
Boundary conditions in the RF Module:
  • Surfaces
    • Perfect electrically conducting surfaces
    • Finite conductivity
    • Thin lossy boundaries
  • Symmetry
  • Periodic
  • Free space
    • Scattering (absorbing) boundaries
    • Perfectly matched layers (PMLs)
  • Elements
    • Capacitive
    • Inductive
    • Resistive
    • Complex impedance
  • Ports
    • Rectangular
    • Circular
    • Periodic
    • Coaxial
    • User defined
    • Numeric (mode matched)
    • Lumped
    • Two-port network systems
  • Cable terminations
  • Line currents
  • Point dipoles


Want to be in the driver’s seat of your simulation? With equation-based modelling, you can modify the governing equations directly within the software, further customising the model for your own analyses.

For electromagnetics modelling problems, the RF Module relies on the finite element method, specifically the frequency domain form of the governing Maxwell’s equations. Modifying custom equations under the finite element method ensures that you are getting the results needed for a safe and reliable end product.

As an added benefit, by using an equation-based modelling approach and eliminating the need for fundamental coding, you can greatly increase the flexibility in what you can model and reduce the time it would take to set up simulations.
Equation-based modeling flexibility in the RF Module:
  • 1D
    • Transmission line equations (can be projected to 2D or 3D applications)
  • 2D
    • In-plane, out-of-plane polarizations, or full three-component vector
    • Out-of-plane propagation
  • 2D axisymmetric
    • In-plane, out-of-plane (azimuthal) polarizations, or full three-component vector
    • Known azimuthal mode numbers
  • Field formulations:
    • Total wave (full field)
    • Background wave (scattered field)
  • 3D
    • Full-wave form of Maxwell's equations using vector edge (curl) elements
    • Material property relationships:
      • Dielectric media
      • Metallic media
      • Dispersive media
      • Lossy media
      • Anisotropic media
      • Gyrotropic media
      • Mixed media
  • Circuit (nondimensional) modeling with SPICE netlists
You have absolute control over your mesh in the RF Module. This is especially useful if the material properties vary during the simulation, such as for electromagnetic heating.

Using the COMSOL Multiphysics® physics-controlled meshing feature, you can easily resolve the wavelengths of electromagnetic phenomena for accurate solutions. Then, you can vary the amount of mesh elements used to solve the model for your desired level of accuracy.

Using a variety of meshing options, which can be automatic or manual, you can mesh dielectric domains and perfectly matched layers (PMLs), as well as periodic structures for RF models. Controlling the mesh ensures accurate simulation results.
Meshing features in the RF Module:
  • Tetrahedral
  • Prismatic
  • Pyramidal
  • Hexahedral
  • Triangular
  • Rectangular
The AC/DC Module offers automatic, semiautomatic, and adaptive mesh generation. Under the hood, the AC/DC Module formulates and solves Maxwell’s equations using FEM, BEM, or a combination of both methods, in concert with state-of-the-art solvers. Several types of finite element and boundary element mesh elements are available.
Numerical methods in the AC/DC Module:
  • FEM
  • BEM
  • Linear and high-order nodal-based and edge element discretisations
  • Combinations of tetrahedral, prismatic, pyramidal, hexahedral, triangular, and quadrilateral elements
  • Linear and nonlinear solvers
Study types in the RF Module:
  • Eigenfrequency
    • Resonance frequencies and Q-factors of a structure
    • Propagation constants and losses in waveguides
  • Frequency Domain
    • Compute behaviour over frequency range
  • Fully Transient
    • Nonlinear materials
    • Signal propagation and return time
    • Very broad-band behaviour
    • Time-domain reflectometry (TDR)
Present simulation results to colleagues, customers, and decision makers in an appealing way, including complex visualisations for S-parameter matrices, far-field radiation patterns, and Smith plots. From eye-catching colour scales to straightforward plots of derived values, you can show off results that are both captivating and easy to understand. No matter what your simulation helps you discover, this functionality will get your team on board for the next steps in the development process. This data can also be exported for further postprocessing in other tools.
Postprocessing features in the RF Module:
  • S-parameter matrices
  • Far-field radiation patterns
  • Antenna gain
  • Axial ratio
  • User-defined expression plots
  • Derived variables and user-defined functions and variables
  • Radar cross sections
  • Smith plots

Think of the time and energy you would be able to devote to new projects if you did not have to run repetitious simulation tests for other people on your team. With the Application Builder, built into COMSOL Multiphysics®, you can build simulation applications that further simplify the simulation workflow by enabling you to restrict the inputs and control the outputs of your model so that your colleagues can run their own analyses.

With applications, you can easily change a design parameter, such as gain or frequency in an antenna, and test it as many times as you need without having to rerun the entire simulation. You can use applications to run your own tests more quickly or distribute applications to other members of your team to run their own tests, further freeing up your time and resources for other projects.

The process is simple:

  1. Transform your complex RF model into a simple user interface (an application)
  2. Customise the application to your needs by selecting inputs and outputs for the application users
  3. Use the COMSOL Server™ or COMSOL Compiler™ products to make them accessible to other team members
  4. Enable your team to run their own design analyses without further assistance

You can expand the capabilities of simulation throughout your team, organisation, classroom, or customer base by building and using simulation applications.

Develop Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Circuits, Antennas, and Metamaterials for the Real World

In order for RF products, devices, and components to safely operate in the real world, the simulated designs need to be viable. You can analyse how multiple physics affect RF designs by using the COMSOL Multiphysics® software and the specialised add-on RF Module.

Most of the RF components, devices, and products you design are affected by some other branch of physics, whether it be heat transfer, plasma, or structural mechanics, to name a few. For the most accurate study possible, you need to be able to simultaneously examine a variety of these effects. You can couple all of the necessary physical effects in the same modelling environment with the RF Module expansion of COMSOL Multiphysics®, thus streamlining your research.

Is there another specific physics area affecting your end-product that you need to investigate? You can mix and match the RF Module with any add-on module or LiveLink™ product from the product suite, all of which seamlessly integrate with the core COMSOL Multiphysics® software platform. This means that your modelling workflow remains the same regardless of the application area or physics you are modelling.

Every business and every simulation need is different.

In order to fully evaluate whether or not the COMSOL Multiphysics® software will meet your requirements, you need to contact us. By talking to one of our sales representatives, you will get personalised recommendations and fully documented examples to help you get the most out of your evaluation and guide you to choose the best license option to suit your needs.

Fill in your contact details and any specific comments or questions, and submit. You will receive a response from a sales representative within one business day.

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