August 26, 2014: The content below helps navigate the new features in this release. A full list of updates is available in the Reference Manual's Appendix.


PrOGrid Project Optimized Gridding™

Refined grid around copper traces.

New capability in the gridding algorithm allows users to create grids that conform to best practices and guidelines. While the underlying gridding algorithm remains unchanged, PrOGrid's new controls enable users to efficiently optimize the trade-off between accuracy and runtime.

Users can control the following aspects of gridding:


Poseable Hand

Poseable hand holding a smart phone.

XF can mimic the numerous grips used to hold mobile devices when users import Poseable Hands from CADHuman and reposition them using controls at each joint in the fingers and thumbs. Users can also align the imported models with other parts in the project, making it easy to grip a device with the imported hand.

Customers who wish to use this capability can purchase the Poseable Hand models directly from CADHuman.


Biological Thermal Solver

Thermal ablation simulation.

XF's enhanced thermal sensor allows users to include metals and other non-biological objects in the temperature rise computation. The calculations are based on Pennes' bioheat equation and consider the effects of conductive heat transfer between thermally connected materials, blood perfusion, metabolic processes, and general radio frequency (RF) heating.

The new sensor is well-suited for analyses related to the following topics:

The sensor's output includes the initial temperature, temperature rise, and final temperature distributions. This data can be viewed in the user interface (UI) or exported for custom post-processing.

MATLAB Export

Screenshot of XF results in MATLAB. All data available through XF's Results browser can be exported to MATLAB and CSV formats. This enables full post-processing of data with MATLAB's extensive mathematical and visualization capabilities.

The export includes the following highlights:


Cropped 3-D Mesh

Screenshot of cropped mesh. Rendering the full geometry as a 3-D mesh can be a time consuming process. New controls allow users to specify and view a cropped section of the mesh. The section can either be specified as an arbitrary box or based on the bounding box of selected parts.

STL Import

Screenshot imported STL file. XF supports STL file formats for import, and has the ability to identify multiple objects in a single file and separate them into individual parts. This allows the various parts to be oriented separately and assigned different material definitions. STL files are imported through the File > Import > CAD file(s) menu.

Dispersive Material Calculator

Screenshot of the Dispersive Material Calculator.

XF provides a Dispersive Material Calculator that fits a single-pole, frequency-dependent, Debye-Drude material to a set of material data points over a frequency range.

Users can input data points in the following ways:

XF adds a new material to the project after finding the Debye-Drude material parameters that match the input data. This allows users to run a single simulation with dispersive material definitions rather than multiple simulations at each frequency of interest.

Picking Geometry Edges and Vertices

Screenshot picker tool.

This release offers additional choices for connecting the picker tools to specific edges or vertices rather than selecting geometry faces. These restrictions allow users to easily choose an exact edge or vertex when using the picker tools for placing components, specifying orientation, or attaching waveguide interfaces.

Users can explicitly direct the picker tools using the following keys:


Graph Select Tool

Screenshot of tool location. The graph's Select tool has been updated with additional functionality: Additionally, holding the Ctrl+ or Shift+ hotkey limits the movement to the X or Y axis, respectively. The button in the upper-left corner of the application will undo the last action to the graph while the window is active.

Graph Font Sizes

Screenshot of a graph in XF. Graph title, legend, number, and marker font sizes are editable for improved readability in the UI, as well as graphs that are exported for reports. These settings are available in Graph Properties, and can be applied to a single graph or to change the default behavior for all Graphs.

Constraint Enhancements

Screenshot of new constraint button. The 2-D sketcher's constraint tools include a button that controls automatically applied constraints. While sketching, XF detects lines that are vertical, horizontal, perpendicular, or parallel and applies constraints that maintain their orientations. This allows users to manually control when constraints are applied for complex geometries.

Option for Increasing Accuracy of Steady-State Results

Graph of dissipated power.

The option Use Frequency-Dependent Material Properties on Nondispersive Materials has been added to the Frequencies of Interest tab when creating a new simulation. Also for a simulation, nondispersive materials are evaluated at a single frequency for time stepping, even if they are entered as a loss tangent or complex permittivity. When processing results for multiple steady-state frequencies, this option adjusts each material's permittivity, permeability, and conductivity to match the appropriate value at each requested frequency. This affects results including dissipated power, SAR, and magnetic flux.

In the image, the blue dots were generated from multiple simulations that used a sinusoid and associated conductivity at each frequency. The green and red plots represent two simulations that had the Material Evaluation Frequency set to 14 GHz. The red plot had the new option enabled and shows a higher level of accuracy. Using this option in conjunction with the Near-field Method of the dissipated power algorithm improves dissipated power and efficiency results over a range of Steady-State Frequencies.

By default, this option is not enabled because there are cases when increased dissipated power can lead to a negative radiated power result (Pradiated = Pinput−Pdissipated).


Increased FFT Resolution

Screenshot comparing output from two FFT sizes.

The FFT algorithm generates more data points in the project's Frequency Range of Interest in less time than before. This update increases the resolution, or smoothness, of frequency domain plots like S-parameters and impedance.

Users who increased the Minimum Plot FFT Size in Application Preferences for smoother frequency domain graphs should reduce this value; an FFT size of 21 is no longer necessary.


Failure Detection Script for GPU Memory

NVIDIA graphics cards have a nonzero failure rate, and those failures are not always catastrophic. Soft errors—such as a data bit stored in memory becoming corrupt—can cause a simulation to compute odd results, but are hard to detect otherwise. Remcom provides cuda_memtest, a Linux-based diagnostics script that detects failures on boards. This script can be set up on clusters and individual machines in order to test the cards on a nightly basis and notify system administrators of errors.

System administrators can either run the script manually or in a scheduling environment through XF's Linux installation directory: {install_dir}/remcom/bin/cuda_memtest. Additionally, cuda_tester.sh is provided as a starting point for administrators when implementing this capability on their clusters and remove a node if a failure is detected.

Additional Capabilities

This version introduces over 80 usability, performance, scripting, and other updates.

Here is a select list of modifications: