Fast time- and frequency-domain finite-element methods for electromagnetic analysis

Woochan Lee, Purdue University


Fast electromagnetic analysis in time and frequency domain is of critical importance to the design of integrated circuits (IC) and other advanced engineering products and systems. Many IC structures constitute a very large scale problem in modeling and simulation, the size of which also continuously grows with the advancement of the processing technology. This results in numerical problems beyond the reach of existing most powerful computational resources. Different from many other engineering problems, the structure of most ICs is special in the sense that its geometry is of Manhattan type and its dielectrics are layered. Hence, it is important to develop structure-aware algorithms that take advantage of the structure specialties to speed up the computation. In addition, among existing time-domain methods, explicit methods can avoid solving a matrix equation. However, their time step is traditionally restricted by the space step for ensuring the stability of a time-domain simulation. Therefore, making explicit time-domain methods unconditionally stable is important to accelerate the computation. In addition to time-domain methods, frequency-domain methods have suffered from an indefinite system that makes an iterative solution difficult to converge fast. The first contribution of this work is a fast time-domain finite-element algorithm for the analysis and design of very large-scale on-chip circuits. The structure specialty of on-chip circuits such as Manhattan geometry and layered permittivity is preserved in the proposed algorithm. As a result, the large-scale matrix solution encountered in the 3-D circuit analysis is turned into a simple scaling of the solution of a small 1-D matrix, which can be obtained in linear (optimal) complexity with negligible cost. Furthermore, the time step size is not sacrificed, and the total number of time steps to be simulated is also significantly reduced, thus achieving a total cost reduction in CPU time. The second contribution is a new method for making an explicit time-domain finite-element method (TDFEM) unconditionally stable for general electromagnetic analysis. In this method, for a given time step, we find the unstable modes that are the root cause of instability, and deduct them directly from the system matrix resulting from a TDFEM based analysis. As a result, an explicit TDFEM simulation is made stable for an arbitrarily large time step irrespective of the space step. The third contribution is a new method for full-wave applications from low to very high frequencies in a TDFEM based on matrix exponential. In this method, we directly deduct the eigenmodes having large eigenvalues from the system matrix, thus achieving a significantly increased time step in the matrix exponential based TDFEM. The fourth contribution is a new method for transforming the indefinite system matrix of a frequency-domain FEM to a symmetric positive definite one. We deduct non-positive definite component directly from the system matrix resulting from a frequency-domain FEM-based analysis. The resulting new representation of the finite-element operator ensures an iterative solution to converge in a small number of iterations. We then add back the non-positive definite component to synthesize the original solution with negligible cost.




Jiao, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Electrical engineering|Electromagnetics

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