Traditional EDA tools rely on circuit theory to approximate the electromagnetic behavior of simple systems involving large isolated components where electrical signals vary or switch relatively slowly.
As frequencies and structural complexities are increasing, the amount of electromagnetic interaction in the systems is also increasing dramatically. Ansoft believes that circuit theory, which only approximates electromagnetic interaction, cannot accurately model these systems.
To this effect, Ansoft has incorporated the work of physicist James Clark Maxwell into their software. Ansoft's software applies Maxwell's equations to complex, real-life problems in the following three CAD and CAE design stages:
- Preprocessing: Building a computer model of the simulated device by developing a solid model of the device geometry and then defining the physical properties.
- Solution: Calculating electromagnetic field quantities for each element created during the preprocessing stage.
- Post-processing: Applying additional proprietary procedures to analyze the results from the second stage in light of the specific design environment.
The complexities of the design process can lead to multiple iterations between the stages. To minimize these iterations and thereby reduce design time, Ansoft's software provides estimates of critical design characteristics such as performance, miniaturization, and yield.
Ansoft's software includes electromechanical (EM), signal integrity (SI), and high-frequency (HF) products. Here's how Ansoft describes them:
EM software products enable designers of electromechanical components and systems to optimize the electrical performance of their designs while increasing manufacturing yields. The products in this category include the Maxwell 2D Field Simulator, the Maxwell 3D Simulator, the Electromechanical System Simulator (EMSS), and the Electromagnetic Analysis System (EMAS).
The company's SI software enables the design of computer interconnects, IC Packaging structures, and electronic systems. It accurately captures the degradation in signal quality due to higher clock speeds and smaller physical dimensions. These products include Maxwell Spicelink, Maxwell Eminence, Maxwell SI 2D, and Maxwell SI 3D.
Ansoft's HF software is for designing radio frequency integrated circuits, antenna, radar systems, and microwave components. Products include Maxwell Strata, Ansoft HFSS, Serenade, and Ensemble.
Ansoft products can be used as an independent design platform or are compatible with complementary EDA tools. They are available on Unix workstations and PCs running Microsoft Windows/Windows NT.