Middle East Technical University

Middle East Technical University Designs 35 GHz Phase Shifter Using NI AWR Design Environment


Company Profile

The mission of the Middle East Technical University (METU) is to reach, produce, apply, and promote knowledge, and to educate individuals with that knowledge for the social, cultural, economic, scientific, and technological development of our society and humanity. Since its foundation, METU, as an international research university, has been the leading university in Turkey in terms of depth and breadth of international ties and the amount of funds generated from international research projects. METU Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department started its education program with 25 students and two teaching members in 1958. The department is now one of the biggest and the most developed departments of the university with about 1000 undergraduate, 250 MS, and 80 PhD students.


The Design Challenge

The challenge was to design a true-time-delay phase shifter with center frequency at 35 GHz using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology. The 3D EM simulation time for overall performance of this type of design is usually very long and further compounded by meshing problems due to the large structure. In order to estimate and optimize the performance of the complete design in a highly efficient way, METU used NI AWR Design Environment/Microwave Office for circuit level simulations that leveraged ANSYS HFSS 3D EM results for key components.


The Solution

Many of the circuit components were initially designed in ANSYS HFSS. The designer then imported the simulation results of necessary blocks back into NI AWR Design Environment platform and used Microwave Office circuit design software to design and simulate the complete phase shifter at the circuit level. 

Circuit-level simulations were done with NI AWR software because its superior simulation speed enabled the designer to shorten overall design time. The optimization feature in Microwave Office software enabled the designer to fine-tune the values of the circuit model of the components for the best performance. Dimensions of the component-level building blocks were subsequently changed in the EM simulation tool according to optimized results from Microwave Office software. 


Why NI AWR Design Environment

The METU engineer chose NI AWR Design Environment because of its simulation speed and capacity. The fast simulation time meant that it took less time for the overall circuit-level simulation. In addition, the data files could be imported from HFSS and used in circuit-level simulations. The expected results could easily be processed within Microwave Office software. The designer cited the software’s productivity, ease of use, simulation speed, and integration with third-party tools as key benefits in his design success. The most positive feature of NI AWR Design Environment software was the Microwave Office optimization feature, which enabled the designer to optimize the component circuit models to achieve optimum performance.