We’ve collected a list of the top professional antenna simulation software to help you decide which tools are best to design, simulate, optimize, tune, and manufacture your next antenna.
Professional Antenna Simulation Tools
We start with a list of tools typically used for general antenna simulation.
The following simulation tools cover Finite Element Method (FEM), Finite-Difference Time-Domain (FDTD), Method of Moments (MoM), Integral Equation (IE), Physical Optics (PO), and Geometrical Theory of Diffraction (GTD) solver algorithms with varying efficiencies depending on the problem.
|HFSS||General EM Simulator|
|CST||FDTD/IE EM Simulator|
|FEKO||MoM EM Simulator|
|Momentum||MoM EM Simulator|
|COMSOL||FEM EM Simulator|
|Grasp||MoM/PO/GTD EM Simulator|
|Antenna Toolbox||MoM Simulator|
Professional Feedchain Simulation Tools
Every antenna needs a feed. This could range from a simple waveguide matched to a single horn antenna to a multi-band, dual circular polarization corporate feed in an array.
It’s definitely possible to use nearly any of the tools mentioned above to design one, but it’s typically suggested to use a tool that is specifically made for the job to reduce overall costs especially for complex high power waveguide feeds and direct radiators.
No matter the feed network, this list of tools help simulate and optimize the feed efficiently. Typical solver algorithms include Mode Matching (MM), Finite Element Method (FEM), Method of Moments (MoM), and circuit simulation for touchstone & SWE file analysis.
|Micrwave Wizard||MM/FEM EM Simulator|
|Fest3d||MM/MoM EM Simulator|
|Champ||MM/MoM EM Simulator|
|ADS||Circuit & EM Simulator|
|RF Toolbox||SWE & Touchstone Evaluation|
Free Electromagnetic Simulators
As an alternative to professional simulation tools, open-source options exist. The main differences between the professional-grade simulation tools discussed in this article vs free or open-source tools is the user interface, mesher, and the solver algorithm efficiency, but hey, they’re free!
High Power RF Analysis Tools
A high power (HP) electromagnetic (EM) simulation tool is used to help predict the power handling capabilities of a feed network and antenna. This consists of analyzing high power gas ionization, corona, and multipactor at near vacuum. To our knowledge, these are the tools widely accepted by industry standards.
Mechanical, Structural, and Thermal Analysis Tools
For mechanical CAD, structural, and thermal analysis of the antenna, commercial grade simulation software is recommended. Although this list is not exhaustive, Finite Element Analysis (FEA) tools used along with the above mentioned EM packages can be combined from certain software vendors to make co-simulation easier between engineering teams.
|Ansys Mechanical||MCAD, Thermal, & Structural Analysis|
|Altair OptiStruct||Structural Analysis|
|MSC Nastran||Specialized Structural Analysis|
|Ansys Lumerical||EM & Thermal Co-simulation|
|Autodesk Inventor||MCAD, Thermal, & Structural Analysis|
Manufacturing Analysis Tools
Typically, manufacturing analysis tools should be used on the mechanical CAD model to validate the manufacturability of the parts. There are two main methods of part production: subtractive and additive. Typically subtractive techniques will be more electrically predictable.
Most interestingly, software vendors are now releasing metal additive part manufacturing simulation tools to allow engineers to quickly loop design for manufacturing in their models. This is not an exhaustive list, but these could work in combination with the other mentioned software packages.
|Ansys Additive||Additive Manufacturing Analysis|
|Fusion360-Manufacturing||Machining & Additive Manufacturing Analysis|
We can also help with the simulation of antennas and components. Check out our simulation page for more info
That’s all. We hope this article helped you on your journey in antenna design. You may also want to see our guide on low cost antenna design tools.
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