FEKO Suite 7.0

Source: Altair Engineering Inc

FEKO Suite 7.0 sees the addition of a Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) solver to its comprehensive set of powerful computational methods as well as the hybridization of the Multilevel Fast Multipole Method (MLFMM) with Physical Optics (PO). Three new import file formats are also now available.

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Product Overview: FEKO

New Features of FEKO Suite 7.0

FEKO reaches a new milestone with the inclusion of the finite difference time domain (FDTD) solver to its comprehensive set of powerful computational methods.  The solver is easily activated and it is simple to switch between the FDTD and other solvers. 

Despite the fact that the method is set in the time domain, the use of Fourier techniques allows wide-band frequency domain information to be calculated. It can achieve second order accuracy using first order numeric differentiation. The method is also well suited to modelling inhomogeneous materials. In addition, the method lends itself well to various parallelization techniques. The FDTD solver supports GPU computing to improve performance when a compatible GPU is available to obtain significant speedup.

The addition of the FDTD solver will provide more efficient solutions to customers who are focused on simulation of wide-band antennas and inhomogeneous structures, e.g. anatomical models.

Hybrid MLFMM with PO or LE-PO
A new hybrid iterative method is supported which allows MLFMM with either PO or LE-PO to be used in the same model. An advantage of this iterative technique is a significant reduction in memory. The MLFMM models the complex part of the structure which contains the fine details. The PO/LE-PO is used to model the smoothly varying part. When using LE-PO together with the MLFMM, bi-directional coupling is included.

Applications of the MLFMM-PO (and LE-PO) hybrid span over a wide range of problems including analysis of electrically large antennas (e.g. reflector antennas), antenna placement studies on large platforms (e.g. ships, aircraft) for the purpose of antenna pattern, coupling and radiation hazard analysis.

Features still in place of FEKO Suite 6.3:

  • Higher Order Basis Functions on Curvilinear Surface Meshes - Support for curvilinear meshes in connection with Higher Order Basis Functions (HOBF) was added for MoM and MLFMM. The curvilinear meshing allows larger elements without sacrificing model accuracy. This can result in significant reductions in run-time and memory requirements for some structures. The triangles are second order curvilinear triangles with 6 vertex points consisting of 3 corner points and 3 points in the middle of the triangle edges.
  • CAD Import and Healing Tools - As of September 2013, all users of FEKO Silver, Gold or Platinum licences (new purchases or with active Maintenance & Support contracts) have access to all CAD import and export filters. This additional power allows users to import a wide range of models from their native CAD formats. Imported CAD files often require additional work to condition the model into a format where it can be meshed in FEKO. This task has been simplified with the introduction of a set of CAD healing and fixing tools. Examples of these tools include automated fixing of various problems associated with edges and faces as well as a tool to fill complex shaped holes in a model with automatically generated surfaces.
  • Continuous Far Field Calculations - Antenna designers will no longer have to be concerned about the angle increments that are used to sample far field radiation patterns or RCS plots as FEKO can automatically compute a continuous representation of the data. The plotting of continuous far field data can then be sampled with any resolution in POSTFEKO. The implementation is accurate and efficient, and faster than using a fine angular sampling. It is well suited for the simulation of large gain antennas or RCS of large objects where a fine angular resolution would be required.
  • Characteristic Mode Analysis (CMA) - Characteristic modes are now tracked by correlating modes between individual frequencies of a sweep. The mode tracking is based on ordering the modes correctly at each frequency relative to their rankings at the reference frequency (typically the first frequency point). This algorithm makes working with CMA even more intuitive. CMA was also extended to support dielectric and magnetic materials with MoM with the surface equivalence principle and apertures with the planar Green's function.
  • Cable Modelling - Numerous extensions were made to the cable modelling interface including selection and snapping to cables in the 3D view, definition of cable paths at a constant distance from model faces, improved searching with the Find cable tool and rectangle selection in the
    schematic view. The projection of cable network from the 3D view to the cable schematic
    view has been extended by allowing the user to select the most appropriate projection. The
    distance between connectors displayed in the schematic view can be varied to prevent
  • Scripting and Automation - Application automation was added to CADFEKO similar to the existing capability in POSTFEKO. This will enable users to create scripts that build repetitive structures, generate parametric models beyond the capability of variables and automate menial tasks. Parameters can also be sent to scripts when launching CADFEKO from a command line. Application macros are available, which users can use to create their own tools with user interfaces. Scripts may also be downloaded from the FEKO website, and commonly used application macros can be added to the custom command library. The scripts will
    automatically populate the Application Macros menu when CADFEKO or POSTFEKO is
    started, and can then be launched from the ribbon. The automated scripts can also query
    the user for parameters via forms.
  • New EDITFEKO Look and Feel - EDITFEKO was completely rewritten and now boasts a number of new features including a ribbon interface, a search bar, support for drag and drop and syntax highlighting.

Features still in place from FEKO Suite 6.2:

  • Fast array solver - domain Green's function method (DGFM) with tools to create finite sized arrays efficiently in FEKO's user interface
  • Time Domain Analysis (intelligent FFT/IFFT conversion allowing the fast analysis of different time domain signals)
  • Report generation in POSTFEKO: Reports can be generated in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint and PDF formats. A quick report tool is available, as well as advanced reporting where content controls in a MS Word document can be linked to views in POSTFEKO.
  • Realised (effective) gain results readily available: Realised (effective) gain that takes mismatch loss into account is directly available in POSTFEKO for any single source antenna model.
  • Scripting post-processing of results in POSTFEKO: Advanced post-processing of results can be performed in POSTFEKO using the powerful scripting language Lua. Scripting is useful for custom post-processing, for example to calculate radiation safety zones according to a specific standard.
  • New CADFEKO interface: CADFEKO's user interface has been reworked and is now similar to the clean and simple interface of POSTFEKO. The focus is on usability with many features easily accessible from quick launch, quick access and quick tool menus, a context-based ribbon and numerous shortcut keys.
  • Numerical Green's Function Domain Decomposition: Simulations involving some dynamic element in an otherwise static model may be greatly sped up by re-using the solution of static parts in subsequent simulations. The numerical Green's function allows for this type of domain decomposition where a problem is separated into fixed and variable parts. A typical application is the investigation into the optimal mounting position for an antenna on a large platform, such as a ship or a helicopter.
  • Volume equivalence principle (VEP) for dielectrics: The volume equivalence principle (VEP) is an extension to the Method of Moments for the modelling of dielectric objects. In Suite 6.1 tetrahedral mesh elements for the VEP are available directly in CADFEKO.
  • Major extensions to integrated cable modelling: A number of extensions have been made to cable modelling in FEKO. Both irradiation (coupling of external fields into cables) and radiation are supported (excitation of cables by voltage sources). A new combined Method of Moments and Multi-Conductor Transmission Line Theory method has been developed for cables with arbitrary current return paths. This combined MoM/MTL technique can handle gaps in conducting surfaces, but requires cables to be shielded for weak coupling to external fields. A 2D static FEM solver to Laplace's equation that calculates cable parameters allows for the inclusion of arbitrary cable bundles.
  • Low frequency analysis: FEKO supports the analysis of very low frequency problems by using special basis functions for decomposition of the problem space. The matrix condition number for these basis functions remains low over frequency, allowing for stable low frequency solutions.
  • Transmission and reflection coefficients for plane waves: Transmission and reflection coefficients for incident plane waves are available as a request in CADFEKO. The results are available in POSTFEKO for display on 2D graphs. Transmission and reflection coefficients are often used in conjunction with periodic boundary conditions (PBC), multilayer planar Green's functions or infinite planes to calculate the properties of frequency selective surfaces (FSS) or multilayer scattering.


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Product Overview: FEKO