Point Ports: A New EM Port for Board Simulations

John Dunn, AWR Group, NI

Designers commonly prefer to simulate the critical RF parts of their circuit board designs in electromagnetic (EM) simulators. The latest release of the NI AWR Design Environment platform dramatically extends the capability of its printed circuit board (PCB) import feature, which now includes, material, STACKUP, and net information. A new capability in the software automatically places ports on the pins of the nets for easy simulation in the AXIEM planar EM simulation tool. This required the invention of a new type of port: the point port. This microapp explains how the new point port works, focusing on the physical principles underlying its use. Tradeoffs had to be made to enable the port to be automatically placed on any pin and yet keep it accurate enough to be useful to the designer. Emphasis is placed on the grounding assumptions and when they work well, as well as when they don’t. The talk will be of interest to designers trying to simulate commercially-complex boards in planar EM simulators.