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The Foundations Of Computational Electromagnetics

Using computational approaches to solve otherwise intractable problems.

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Maxwell’s Equations can be expressed in multiple variants – there are integral and differential versions in both frequency and time domains, along with quasi-static and full-wave forms. Their elegance is evident upon sight yet for only the simplest systems are there known solutions. Thus, without assumptions to simplify the math and/or system under study, it is frequently impossible to fully solve “real-world” applications.

Maxwell’s Equations attracted the attention of engineers and physicists focused on using computational approaches to solve otherwise intractable problems. This led to the birth of Computational Electromagnetics, a field in which Ansys has been on the leading edge since the 1980’s.


Fig. 1: HFSS Analysis on EMI/EMC testbench.

I’ve been involved in electromagnetic design for my entire career, first designing hi-resolution NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) probes via a prototype build, test, and measurement approach, then doing antenna design via simulation. With respect to designing through simulation, working day-to-day with Ansys experts in Computational Electromagnetics has enriched my simulation technical background tremendously. Without this experience I know I would not be as effective a user of these tools as I am today. Now, the entire EM engineering community will have the same opportunity I have had to learn about mathematical theorems, modeling techniques and methods that serve as the foundation of Ansys electromagnetic simulation technology.


Fig. 2: Electric currents and magnetic fields around an EMI/EMC test bench.

Ansys has launched a five-part online seminar series presented by the company’s top experts in Computational Electromagnetics. The people who architected electromagnetic simulation for Ansys over the last three decades will be talking about fundamental principles and real-world applications both broadly and deeply. With this online seminar series, you have the opportunity to hear directly from some of the foremost experts in the world on Computational Electromagnetics and how they made it happen.


Fig. 3: Electromagnetic fields around cabling in an automobile chassis.

Lecture topics include:

Foundations of Computational Electromagnetics (Available on-demand here)
Presented by Eric Bracken, who goes over Maxwell’s Equations in all their forms and how they give rise to different types of solvers. Dr. Bracken also examines different solver approaches and their plusses and minuses.

Dr. Eric Bracken is an Ansys Fellow and Chief Technologist who has been with Ansys since 1996. He focuses on signal and power integrity, EMI/EMC, parasitics, circuit simulation and model-order reduction.

An Overview of the Foundations of HFSS and Maxwell Solver Technologies (March 30th)
This session offers a critical technologies overview for HFSS and Maxwell, including recent advanced feature additions. The various numerical methods (finite elements, integral equations, etc.) included in HFSS and Maxwell will be examined, along with applicable solver options such as direct and iterative algebraic solvers. Dr. Rickard Petersson and Dr. Ping Zhou present this session.

Dr. Petersson is R&D Director at Ansys and is responsible for electromagnetic field solvers, including specialized solvers for signal integrity. Dr. Zhou is also an R&D Director at Ansys and is the author of Ansys Maxwell.

The Foundation of Domain Decomposition Technologies in HFSS (April 12th
This session consists of a theoretical overview of domain decomposition formulations in HFSS and a deep dive into how HFSS solvers have evolved. There will also be a deep dive into DDM (Domain Decomposition Method) capabilities such as 3D component array, FE-BI/IE Region, and mesh fusion.

Dr. Kezhong Zhao will be presenting. Part of Ansys since 2007, Dr. Zhao is a distinguished engineer leading the high frequency-signal integrity FEM (Finite Element Method) solver team.

Learning Ray Tracing Methods Foundations for Electromagnetics (April 21st)
This lecture examines shooting and bouncing rays (SBR) as a computational electromagnetic (CEM) methodology. The discussion also explores how SBR can be extended to edge diffraction, creeping wave, and volumetric refraction. The presenter is Bob Kipp.

Dr. Robert Kipp leads the Ansys HFSS SBR+ development team. Dr. Kipp has decades of experience in applying SBR across a broad range of antenna designs, radio wave propagation, EMI/EMC, radar signature prediction, antenna scattering, and automotive apps.

The Foundation of Computational Optics and Photonics (April 28th)
The session goes over ray tracing basics, sequential/non-sequential methods and models for surface and volume scattering, along with mechanical and temperature effects. Also included is a treatise on full-wave time and frequency domain electromagnetic solvers for optics and photonics, as well as simulating quantum photonic effects.

The presenter for this online seminar is Dr. James Pond, co-founder, and CTO of Lumerical and a driving force behind the company’s core software algorithms, technology, and advanced photonic modeling capabilities. Dr. Pond is a Distinguished Engineer at Ansys where he continues to work on photonics simulation.


Fig. 4: MIMO Far field patterns from an 8X8 5G mmWave array antenna.

By attending these webinars, you will become a more informed, and more effective, user of electromagnetic simulation.

Register for the Foundations of Computational Electromagnetics webinar series here: Electromagnetics Foundation Webinar Series.



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