RF PCB Design

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NI AWR Design Environment offers a layout-driven design methodology for complex RF printed circuit boards (PCBs), supporting accurate modeling of PCB transmission media from the RF signal path to digital control and DC bias lines. Circuit/system and electromagnetic (EM) co-simulation provides first-pass design success with complete PCB analysis of surface-mount components, interconnecting transmission lines, and embedded and distributed passive elements.

What's New

  • EM Verification by way of an enhanced PCB import wizard accelerates EM verification of PCBs by enabling users to isolate areas of interest with powerful net and area selection of imported designs originally created in board layout tools from leading CAD vendors.
  • Point Ports provide precise placement of lumped-element model connection points within an EM structure for circuit/EM co-simulation of designs based on surface-mount components on PCBs.
  • iNets enhanced functionality with improved trace routing addresses the need for rapid EM modeling and analysis of PCBs complex multi-layer boards and dense networks of high-frequency interconnects.



Design / Simulate / Realize

  • Microwave Office  - Supporting front-end PCB design with distributed transmission-line models, vendor component libraries, design entry, and frequency (harmonic balance) and time (transient) domain circuit simulation. Co-simulation with Visual System Simulator™ (VSS) uses circuit-envelope techniques to analyze digital modulation of communication/defense board designs.
  • AXIEM and Analyst™ - Perform electromagnetic (EM) simulations for S-parameter extraction of transmission lines and embedded/distributed passive components for post-layout verification. Third-party interoperability with layout tools from Cadence, Mentor Graphics, and Zuken support the import of PCB layout data for extraction with AXIEM and/or Analyst.
  • NI AWR Design Environment - Integrates circuit/system/EM simulation technologies with a comprehensive back-end physical design platform featuring physical layout linked to simulation-ready schematic capture, interoperability with third-party design rule check/ layout vs. schematic (DRC/LVS) tools, and production-ready AutoCAD DXF and GDSII export.

Circuit / System / EM Simulation Products 

  • Microwave Office - Circuit analysis

    • Design capture with industry-leading tuning
    • Linear and nonlinear frequency- and time-domain simulation
      • APLAC harmonic balance for large-scale and highly nonlinear designs
    • HPSICE transient simulation
    • ACE™ automated circuit extraction technology for interconnect modeling
  • AXIEM and Analyst - 3D planar and 3D finite element method (FEM) EM​​ analysis for bumps, bond wires, ribbons
  • EM Socket™ -  Interoperability with ANSYS, CST, and Sonnet EM software products
  • Visual System Simulator™ - Communication systems design, circuit-envelope analysis, and design partitioning/integration

Models and Libraries

Manufacturing and Test

Supported Technologies

  • FR4 - Widely-used fiberglass (copper clad) reinforced epoxy laminate
  • Aluminum Oxide (Alumina) - Available in thin and thick film technologies, used in high-pressure, high-insulation, high-frequency, high-temperature, and high-reliability applications
  • Low Temperature Co-Fired Ceramic (LTCC) - Integrates embedded passives and ICs using a number of independently processed ceramics assembled together into a single device as a final step
  • Systems - Circuit and system co-simulation of wireless communication metrics such as adjacent channel power ratio (ACPR), error vector magnitude (EVM), and related digital modulation analysis

RF PCB Design - Video Gallery