Electromagnetic simulation tools accelerate design of microwave amplifiers: Page 2 of 3

December 10, 2012 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
An automated simulation-based design cycle has become a fundamental part of the success of one of today's leading designers of travelling wave tube (TWT) microwave amplifiers.
TMD with a powerful means of exploring the solutions to these design challenges. The tool has a library of generic parameterized models of TWT tube designs, containing unique intellectual property on the design of component parts of TWTs, and all the engineer needs to start creating a custom TWT is to enter some of the model geometry parameters using dialog boxes - which takes only a few minutes. The package will then automatically simulate and post-process the results to provide custom high-level views of the resulting performance.

This process typically takes less than five minutes, so it is easy for TMD to modify the design parameters and repeat the analysis to locate the optimum solution within any chosen design space. TMD also has built in special features to the custom design software to improve the optimization process, such as making it easy for users to suspend simulation and change parameters on the fly, or to 'bracket' a design topology and then to create an interpolated data file that can be used to explore the intervening design space. Thanks to the highly automated design optimization, this phase of the total TWT design process can often be accomplished within a couple of days. TMD has also produced similar script sequences that partially-automate the design of the electron gun and magnetic focusing elements of a TWT.

One of the most recent applications for the automated design tool has been in the development of a groundbreaking microwave power module called PTX8400. The compact transmitter module provides 1 kW output thanks to a novel ring loop TWT offering very high gain. This combination of size and performance is setting a new standard for space- and weight-critical radar applications such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and military helicopter platforms.

TMD has been using the Opera software suite from Cobham for over 10 years. The company utilizes many of the specialist electromagnetic design solvers developed by Cobham

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