Fast Solvers for Integtral-Equation based Electromagnetic Simulations
With the rapid increase in available compute power and memory, and bolstered by the advent of efficient formulations and algorithms, the role of 3D full-wave computational methods for accurate modelling of complex electromagnetic (EM) structures has gained in significance. The range of problems includes Radar Cross Section (RCS) computation, analysis and design of antennas and passive microwave circuits, bio-medical non-invasive detection and therapeutics, energy harvesting etc. Further, with the rapid advances in technology trends like System-in-Package (SiP) and System-on-Chip (SoC), the fidelity of chip-to-chip communication and package-board electrical performance parameters like signal integrity (SI), power integrity (PI), electromagnetic interference (EMI) are becoming increasingly critical. Rising pin-counts to satisfy functionality requirements and decreasing layer-counts to maintain cost-effectiveness necessitates 3D full wave electromagnetic solution for accurate system modelling. Method of Moments (MoM) is one such widely used computational technique to solve a 3D electromagnetic problem with full-wave accuracy. Due to lesser number of mesh elements or discretization on the geometry, MoM has an advantage of a smaller matrix size. However, due to Green's Function interactions, the MoM matrix is dense and its solution presents a time and memory challenge. The thesis focuses on formulation and development of novel techniques that aid in fast MoM based electromagnetic solutions. With the recent paradigm shift in computer hardware architectures transitioning from single-core microprocessors to multi-core systems, it is of prime importance to parallelize the serial electromagnetic formulations in order to leverage maximum computational benefits. Therefore, the thesis explores the possibilities to expedite an electromagnetic simulation by scalable parallelization of near-linear complexity algorithms like Fast Multipole Method (FMM) on a multi-core platform. Secondly, with the best of parallelization strategies in place and near-linear complexity algorithms in use, the solution time of a complex EM problem can still be exceedingly large due to over-meshing of the geometry to achieve a desired level of accuracy. Hence, the thesis focuses on judicious placement of mesh elements on the geometry to capture the physics of the problem without compromising on accuracy- a technique called Adaptive Mesh Refinement. This facilitates a reduction in the number of solution variables or degrees of freedom in the system and hence the solution time. For multi-scale structures as encountered in chip-package-board systems, the MoM formulation breaks down for parts of the geometry having dimensions much smaller as compared to the operating wavelength. This phenomenon is popularly known as low-frequency breakdown or low-frequency instability. It results in an ill-conditioned MoM system matrix, and hence higher iteration count to converge when solved using an iterative solver framework. This consequently increases the solution time of simulation. The thesis thus proposes novel formulations to improve the spectral properties of the system matrix for real-world complex conductor and dielectric structures and hence form well-conditioned systems. This reduces the iteration count considerably for convergence and thus results in faster solution. Finally, minor changes in the geometrical design layouts can adversely affect the time-to-market of a commodity or a product. This is because the intermediate design variants, in spite of having similarities between them are treated as separate entities and therefore have to follow the conventional model-mesh-solve workflow for their analysis. This is a missed opportunity especially for design variant problems involving near-identical characteristics when the information from the previous design variant could have been used to expedite the simulation of the present design iteration. A similar problem occurs in the broadband simulation of an electromagnetic structure. The solution at a particular frequency can be expedited manifold if the matrix information from a frequency in its neighbourhood is used, provided the electrical characteristics remain nearly similar. The thesis introduces methods to re-use the subspace or Eigen-space information of a matrix from a previous design or frequency to solve the next incremental problem faster.
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