December 12, 2017: The content below helps navigate the new features in this release. A full list of updates is available in the Reference Manual's Appendix.

Customers using graphics processing unit (GPU) acceleration must upgrade their video drivers in order to support CUDA 8.0. CUDA 8.0 drops support for compute capability 1.x, which means that cards C1080 and older are not supported by XF 7.7.0 and subsequent versions. Support continues for C20x0 and higher, but users should note that NVIDIA and XF will drop support for these within a couple years.

XF 7.7.0 upgrades FLEXlm licensing libraries to version v11.14.1-TRL from v11.10.1. Customers using a floating license must update their floating license server. Customers using a green 9-key USB dongle must upgrade their USB driver.

Circuit Co-Simulation

Netlist component image.

XF's circuit co-simulation capability is a time-domain circuit simulation that occurs in conjunction with the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulation. The netlist component allows users to simulate manufacturer components—for example, capacitors from Murata—based on their measured data. By importing a text file, users can define passive SPICE3 models as just one component within the FDTD simulation.

The netlist component capability may also be used to to define a matching circuit within a feed. After importing a netlist file, users can create a netlist component definition that can then be assigned as a matching circuit in the feed editor. This single circuit component definition eliminates the need to create a matching circuit for each feed.

Nodal Waveguide Interface

Nodal Waveguide image.

This release introduces nodal waveguide interface capabilities for computing single-ended S-parameters for transmission lines, including differential pairs and multi-pin connectors. The interface allows users to select transmission line pins and apply a user-defined reference impedance, creating an impedance mismatch at the source. The mismatch is exhibited in the renormalized S-parameters that are computed during simulation. A nodal excitation can also be applied to a set of pins without collecting S-parameters.

The name of the existing waveguide capability from previous XF versions has been changed to modal waveguide.

Circular and Elliptical Plane Waves

New Plane Wave image.

XF's plane wave capabilities now include circular and elliptical polarization, which take the following forms.

Circular: $(E_x + jE_y)e^{j\omega z}$

Elliptical: $(E_x + E_ye^{j\psi})e^{j\omega z}$

Both polarizations allow users to define electric field components, and the elliptical polarization allows users to define phase offset. These plane wave excitations compute scattering behavior and radar cross section.

Optimization Functions

Optimization Functions image.

Optimization functions added to the script API are accessible to users and allows them to optimize any result type, including S-parameters, gain, and efficiency. Users can perform multi-variable optimization based on the parameters in XF's parameters list.

Sheet Body from Edges

Facet options image.

The sheet body from edges modeling capability allows users to create new geometry by selecting a series of edges on an existing part.

N Pole Debye-Drude Material

Debye-Drude graph.

XF's electric Debye-Drude material definition has been extended to support n poles. This capability provides more flexibility when fitting an XF material to a measured material.

Meshing Order Rules

Meshing Order image.

XF now adheres to three rules for determining meshing order:

  1. Select part with higher meshing priority.
  2. If priorities are equal, then select part with higher electric conductivity.
  3. If materials are equal, then select part that is closer to the top of the project tree.

XF looks at the material properties and sets the meshing order based on a material's conductivity. This standard for distinguishing two overlapping parts ensures they are correctly applied to the mesh, and also allows users to make any necessary adjustments.

When users open a project saved in an earlier version of XF, the previous meshing order rules are disregarded. A message appears stating that the new rules have been applied, so users should recheck the mesh.

Remove Holes

Remove Holes image.

The remove holes modeling capability modifies a sheet body, allowing XF users who perform a PCB wrap operation during import to remove holes in the target part.

User Defined Waveform

User defined waveform image.

This release adds usability improvements to XF's user defined waveform, allowing users to enter equations directly. The built-in functions include sin(t), exp(t), and pow(x,y), as well as constants, such as PI, c, and E, that can be used when defining the waveform's equation.

The following exponentially decaying sinusoidal waveform example utilizes both:

amplitude( t ) = E ^ ( -5e7 * t ) * sin( 2 * PI * 2e8 * t )

The file format for imported waveforms has been simplified so that it is based on physical time rather than timesteps. Each line of the file contains a time in seconds, one or more whitespace characters, and the waveform amplitude at that time.

Facet Properties

Facet options image.

XF's faceting options are accessible to users, allowing them to increase the resolution from the default behavior. Adjusting a part's facet quality helps smooth the appearance of curved surfaces for a more accurate representation, particularly when XACT is enabled.

Multiple PCB Crop Sections

PCB Crop image.

The PCB import window allows users to specify and import multiple crop regions at once rather than importing each crop section individually.

The following options can be applied while working within the PCB import window:

Check Model

Check Model image.

XF's new check model capability is a diagnostic tool that exposes issues stemming from an inconsistent model. After importing a 3-D CAD model, users can perform a check to identify errors upon noticing a failed modeling operation or flawed mesh. The check model feature provides information that helps users determine the next step toward resolving geometry issues.

Additional Capabilities

There are over 70 usability, performance, scripting, and other updates in this version.

Here is a select list of modifications:

  • Added pull arrow to thicken sheet.
  • Updated the dispersive material calculator to handle n pole Debye-Drude materials.
  • Added port names to header information in Touchstone files.
  • Delete output files for simulations with a Completed or Killed status using a right-click menu option on the simulation in the Simulations window.
  • Multiple selection is now supported in the simulations window.
  • Dielectric volume averaging is supported for Debye-Drude materials.
  • Electric Debye-Drude materials can now be present at a waveguide interface.
  • PCB import supports multiple polygons and additional tools for specifying the region(s) of the design being imported.
  • Facet-based parts can now be scaled.
  • Any object that is rendered in the geometry window—circuit components, waveguides, sensors—can be selected by clicking on them, similar to other geometry.
  • Performance of visualization of large planar, solid volume and surface sensors improved 2.5-3x.
  • Increased performance when writing mesh files for solver up to 40x (in certain cases).
  • Additional information to show number edges when performing several modeling operations, such as blend and chamfer.
  • Improved handling of boolean modeling operations for success in many cases that previously failed with errors.
  • Improved accuracy of plane wave simulations by correcting for anisotropic numerical dispersion.
  • Improved TEM waveguide model shapes so that when the frequency domain solver finds degenerate TEM modes, proper single-ended modes are more likely to be found.
  • Zoom-To-Selection tool is now the default selection tool in the geometry window. To zoom to extents, either clear the selection or use Shift+.
  • Port names are now listed in the header section of an exported Touchstone file.
  • The visibility state of project tree branches is now saved/restored as an application preference.
  • Improved behavior of selection tool in graphs, including removing default behavior of zoom-to-box.
  • Improved behavior of rectangle select tool in the geometry window to behave more like the normal selection tool.
  • Multiple plots can be selected in a graph for editing and deleting.
  • Added deselect all button for S-parameters in the create simulation window.
  • Expanded list of available bands in the circuit element optimizer (CEO).
  • Removed tip-of-the-day on startup.
  • Added a copy all context menu item to most application text for quickly copying it to the clipboard.
  • XFsolver can take the path to a simulation or run directory as a command-line parameter, eliminating the need to change the current working directory before running XFsolver.
  • [Scripting API] Added method App.getObjectSelection(), which enables scripts to access the current selection in the application.
  • [Scripting API] New methods on Simulation: getRunError(), getRunWarning(), getSimulationCreationReport(), deleteOutput(), and setQueued().
  • [Scripting API] Added missing methods to set and get edges to OffsetSheetEdges.
  • [Scripting API] Added CopyFaces.detach property.
  • [Scripting API] Added documentation for RObject.isValid() and RObject.getReasonWhyInvalid().
  • [Scripting API] Added SimpleDialog.setLayoutMargin() and SimpleGroupBox.setLayoutMargin() to allow tightening up of layouts for UI elements requiring many elements.
  • [Scripting API] Added missing result types AttenuationConstant and PhaseConstant to ResultQuery.
  • Resolve crash when performing a wrap sheet modeling operation.
  • Updated the included cuda_memtest program so that it supports more than eight GPUs.