The world of electromagnetic devices is rapidly expanding, to include everything from smart devices in our homes to medical devices in and around our bodies. This technology is opening up many doors, allowing us to live more enriching and even healthier lives, but, like all good things, the technology comes with potential complications. When discussing electromagnetics, the term EMC/EMI often comes up. EMC stands for electromagnetic compatibility, which involves the unintentional generation and reception of electromagnetic energy. This energy can cause electromagnetic interference (EMI) and even damage in devices that unwittingly receive it.
EMC is the ability of an electrical system to properly function in its intended environment without influencing other devices, also known as giving off emissions, or being influenced by surrounding devices (known as immunity or susceptibility.) Emissions and Immunity is a well-regulated area, and compliance with these regulations is critical for all electromagnetic products.
In the past, EMC engineering was associated primarily with measurements, and could only be applied late in the design stage, as a physical prototype was required. If problems appeared, a great deal of effort was required in troubleshooting and applying countermeasures in order to pass rigorous testing requirements. Frequently, only the symptoms were addressed, with the underlying problem remaining undetected. This approach is cost-intensive and can potentially delay the time to market of the device significantly.
Simulation is a valuable tool in mitigating EMC issues, and can be used both during the design phase and during troubleshooting. Using it as early as possible in the design phase, however, has the potential to mitigate the need for later troubleshooting. Simulation can be used without a physical prototype, and can answer important fundamental questions such as whether to use a shielded or unshielded cable, for example. Beyond that, simulation gives access to information that is far beyond what measurement can offer, peering into the depth of products and evaluating the effects of even the tiniest of details.
CST Studio Suite contains a circuit simulator, which can be coupled with the full wave 3D electromagnetic simulation, offering unique possibilities for the user such as the ability to obtain field results that consider an attached circuit. It also allows the user to calculate field distribution at the speed of a circuit simulation as long as the geometry of the device is not changed, thereby greatly reducing the time and effort needed to evaluate a multitude of different circuit configurations and their effect on the system efficacy.
A tool called BOARDCHECK can be used very early in the design process to visually highlight potential problems and provide a list of all violations on a printed circuit board level. It is fast and easy to use, and is the first step in the process, after which 3D simulation can be run. Overall, CST Studio Suite provides a full spectrum of solutions for EMC/EMI simulation in a single, unified simulation environment. It offers support and openness to third party models and file types, such as CAD, PCB layouts, spice, IBIS, and more. It can be easily integrated into existing toolchains and offers a variety of solvers for different applications and use cases.
To learn more about EMC/EMI simulation and see examples of how CST Studio Suite can be used in electromagnetics design, check out the webinar “Electromagnetic Interference Simulation from Package to System Level.” It can be accessed here.