In a previous blog, I noted that born in the cloud companies can be a boon to tech startups looking to optimize precious resources. In this post, I offer a spectacular case in point.
Optisys had big goals and big compute needs. Designing its next-gen antenna, the Utah-based startup sought order-of-magnitude reductions in size, weight and lead time, and a cost-effective solution for running large, concurrent RF electronics simulations. Establishing an in-house IT function wasn’t an option: Optisys (like many startups) had little appetite or budget for investing outside its core business. Instead, it adopted Rescale’s cloud-based platform to satisfy its simulation needs. Continue reading
You may be surprised to learn that a standard passenger jet can have 30 to 50 antennas protruding from the aircraft’s external surface, producing drag forces that can drastically reduce fuel efficiency at a time when airlines are trying to reduce energy consumption. Most antenna designs are engineered for safety purposes, such as air traffic control, traffic collision avoidance, instrument landing systems and distance measuring equipment. Increasingly, antennas are being added to meet passenger demand for more and faster Wi-Fi access, in-flight TV and cellphone applications.
Antennas are mounted on the exterior of today’s airliners
Electronic devices — with well-designed signal integrity (SI) — have transformed the way we communicate, work, learn and entertain. Around the globe, we find smart phones, fiber-optic and wireless networks, pocket-size computers, LED screen displays that mimic paper and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that deliver packages. Automobiles are filled with electronics that control engine functions, keep wheels from skidding, avoid accidents, direct our travel routes and, now, drive themselves. Aircraft are equipped with radar, fly-by-wire systems and airborne communications. And the innovations keep coming…
If you’ve traveled by plane in recent years, you know the airport security drill: Put all your possessions through the X-ray detector, empty your pockets and step into one of the full-body scanners — or millimeter-wave holographic scanner, to use its official name. After you raise your hands above your head, the scanner sends out millimeter waves (mm-waves) that penetrate your clothing and bounce off your skin — or any other object you might be trying to conceal under your clothing, like a weapon of some sort. (The mm-wave radiation is 10,000 times less powerful than a single cellphone call, so you need not be concerned about any health effects.) An antenna array in the sweeping scanner device detects the reflected mm-waves and reconstructs an image of your body.
Airport mm-wave scanner
Today we live in a hyper-connected world, surrounded by smart products. If industry forecasts are correct, by 2020 — just 2 short years from now — there will be over 28 billion internet-connected devices. Beyond smart phones and autonomous vehicles, smart cities, smart factories, and smart homes are also quickly emerging as promising opportunities that could help improve how we live, work and play.
While these new capabilities will be a delight to us as consumers, they are a nightmare for engineers and product designers. With hundreds of sensors, microprocessors, and wired and wireless communication components, engineers face immense challenges in ensuring reliability and performance. In the complex web of electronic circuitry, something, somewhere that is left unaddressed could lead to failure. One of the big challenges confronting product designers is electromagnetic interference, or EMI.
Full-wave model of communications channel
As electronic devices become smaller and more ubiquitous, the printed circuit boards and components that drive them face increasing power densities and evermore complexity. To ensure product reliability and performance, accurate and detailed analysis methodologies are necessary. In a three-part series, Mike Bak and I will discuss modeling approaches for the thermo-mechanical analysis of printed circuit boards and their components. In part one of this series, I will cover modeling approaches for the PCB itself.
A typical PCB will have multiple layers, each one having its own distribution of FR-4 and copper traces and vias. Take the board layout shown in Figure 1 as an example, which has over 16,000 traces and vias across 7 layers. The complex board geometry leads to spatially varying material properties (i.e. modulus of elasticity, density, thermal conductivity, etc.) that must be accurately specified by the analyst for any type of simulation.
Figure 1: Typical PCB Layout Geometry
So, what are some ways that we can model this type of geometry? I’ve outlined below some common approaches: Continue reading
Electronics are everywhere. Amazing innovations such as driver assistance systems (ADAS), IoT, 5G communications, hybrid propulsion and others all depend on electronics. Engineers and designers in almost every industry, must account for electromagnetic fields to design, optimize and deliver products quickly to market.
As radio frequency (RF) and wireless communications components are integrated into compact packages to meet smaller footprint requirements while improving power efficiency, electromagnetic field simulation is the only way to make these trade-offs. Simulation enables innovative ideas, that can push products beyond their traditional limits, to be tested and realized without the burden of prototype costs and time.
The latest issue of ANSYS Advantage features articles from industry leaders who make the most of electromagnetic field simulation to develop next-generation products and deliver them to market quickly.
Have you ever relaxed on the patio on a beautiful autumn day while using your mobile phone to talk to a friend, stream some relaxing music over the phone’s WiFi connection and maybe use the built-in GPS location capability while you map out your next family road trip, all at the same time?
Just think about how amazing it is that you can do all of that — and more — with a device that you hold in the palm of your hand. Your mobile phone has more computing power than the computers that put man on the moon, and more wireless connectivity than we would have thought possible less than a generation ago!
As designs increase in complexity to cater to the insatiable need for more compute power spurred by different AI applications ranging from data centers to self-driving cars, designers are constantly faced with the challenge of meeting the elusive PPA (Power Performance and Area) targets.
PPA over-design has repercussions resulting in increased product cost as well as potential missed schedules with no guarantee of product success. Advanced SoCs pack more functionality and performance which result in higher power density. Traditional approaches of uniformly over-designing the power grid which has worked in the past is no longer an option with routing resources becoming severely constrained. To add to these woes, there are hundreds of combinations of PVT corners to solve for along with the increasing number of applications. Continue reading
European Microwave Week 2017 is almost upon us. The 6-day event provides access to the very latest products, research and initiatives in the microwave sector. It also offers attendees the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with those driving the future of microwave technology. Our ANSYS experts have been attending this conference for a number of years, and I’m proud to say we’ll be there again this year.
From October 10-12, you can stop by our Stand 103 to get the most up-to-date information on our solutions for RF, microwave and communications systems. I’m personally honored to be presenting two papers this year that I hope you’ll attend. Continue reading