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Using EMPro 3D Components in ADS

Using Default EMPro 3D Components in ADS

The EMPro Default 3D Component library is delivered as an ADS design kit, named You will learn how to use the components contained in this design kit in the ADS-Layout environment, and with the FEM simulation and 3D Preview tools in ADS.

The first section will go through the steps that must be taken to use a 3D component in the ADS 3D Preview operation, and in an FEM simulation. This will be a quick overview, without explanation or detail, to illustrate the flow.

The second section will describe the process of using the Default 3D component models in ADS in detail. This involves several steps: some initial preparation; installation of the design kit; insertion of design kit elements into ADS layouts; specification of parameter values for the design kit components; validation of compatibility between the component and simulation substrate definition and layer mapping. There are also some special considerations/workarounds that need to be addressed when using the 3D components in 3D operations, and some troubleshooting hints. For more information about the Design Kit documentation, refer to ADS on-line documentation.

Design Flow Overview

Using EMPro 3D Components in ADS 3D EM Preview

  1. Ensure that you have the ADS codeword: emds_3d_param.
  2. Install the design kit: EMProDefault3D_DesignKit, version v1.1.
  3. Customize the layout layers (optional).
  4. In a Layout window, insert the 2D shapes, ADS layout components, and any other objects you require.
  5. Specify the FEM substrate (such as, layer properties, thickness, and expansion model) Select the layout menu by choosing FEM > Substrate > Create/Modify


    Only substrate layers that are mapped to layout layers are seen by FEM.

  6. Insert one or more 3D components, picking them from the palette or the component library. Assign parameter values. The layout is now ready for 3D EM Preview.
  7. Select FEM > 3D EM Preview from the Layout menu to see a preview of the layout.

Using EMPro 3D Components in an ADS FEM Simulation

  1. Add ports to the layout.
  2. Select FEM > Port Editor from the Layout menu to define the FEM ports.
  3. Select FEM > Simulation > Simulation Options from the Layout menu to set up the FEM simulation options.
  4. Select FEM > Simulation > S-Parameters from the Layout menu to set up the simulation.

The layout is now ready for FEM simulation.

Using a Parameterized 3D Component in ADS

You can use the 3D Components with ADS Layout after installing the Design Kit containing the 3D Components. This example assumes that you created a Design Kit as described in the example on creating a parameterized 3D Component. Use the Install Design Kit menu from ADS to install the Design Kit. After selecting the design kit, the following window is displayed:

Next, create a new design and open the Layout window. From the Library drop-down, select the library containing the 3D Components. The palette will change showing a single component. Click the component and drag it on the Layout window. The parameter window of the component is displayed, as shown below:

Select the required values of the parameters and apply the settings. Single-clicking a parameter will give a description of the parameters use. For reference, a description of the parameters used in this example are repeated below:

  • Layer: Specifies the physically mapped layer that will be used to define the final z-position of the 3D Component
  • PlaceCustomComponentOnTop: Set this parameter to Yes to place the 3D Component on top of the physically mapped layer selected by the Layer parameter.
  • Layer2: Specifies the layer that is used to display the first cross-section. This layer may or may not be physically mapped. The main intent is to provide guidance about the final positioning of the component with respect to other elements present in ADS Layout.
  • Layer3: Specifies the layer that is used to display the second cross-section. This layer may or may not be physically mapped. The main intent is to provide guidance about the final positioning of the component with respect to other elements present in ADS Layout.
  • package_height: Specifies the EMPro generated parameter. Changing this parameter will be reflected in the final 3D geometry that can be verified in the 3D Viewer.

After successful insertion of the component, the 3D Viewer will display the following:


In the present version of ADS (ADS 2009 Update 1), some additional polygons must be drawn on the cond layer to force the 3D Viewer to start.

Using EMPro 3D Components in ADS

Initial Preparation

  1. Get the latest version of the design kit.
  2. The ADS license emds_3d_param is required for 3D preview and FEM simulation of the EMPro default 3D Components. This license is free; but without it the 3D components are silently ignored. If you do not have this license, you can install the design kit, insert the 3D default components into designs, and perform 3D Preview and FEM operations. However, 3D components will be excluded from these operations without any warning or indication of any kind.
  3. 3D components include a 2D footprint that is visible in the ADS layout window, and, additionally, a full 3D model that is used in 3D operations. These components do not include a Schematic symbol or representation, and are not directly supported by ADS circuit simulation.

Installation of the ADS Design Kit

Start ADS 2009, and install the EMPro Default 3D Design Kit. For more information on installing Design Kits, refer to "Design Kit Installation and Setup" in the ADS documentation set.

Inserting Design Kit Components into ADS Layouts

  1. After installing the design kit, the 3D components can be inserted into ADS layouts. First, select the EMProDefault3D Library Components in the Layout window to install the 3D Component palette:
  2. Select a 3D Component from the palette to insert into the Layout. Note that all 3D Component names begin with EMPro_LIBS3D.

Setting Parameter Values for the 3D Components: Example EMPro_LIBS3D_Block

Parameter values for the 3D Components are set in the same way as other ADS Layout components. The 3D Components, however, have some parameter values that cannot be modified: Desc3D and DesignKitName. These values are fixed at the time of the design kit creation. They appear in the ADS Edit Parameter dialog enclosed in parenthesis.

All 3D Components have two layer parameters: Layer and Layer2. Layer specifies the layout layer on which the component either:

  • spans, if the component is a spanning component (with 'Span' in its name).
  • is placed on the top of, if the value of the parameter PlaceCustomComponentOnTop is set to yes.
  • is placed on the bottom of, if the value of the parameter PlaceCustomComponentOnTop is set to no.


    The value of the parameter PlaceCustomComponentOnTop is relevant only if the associated layout layer is specified for FEM as having a Thick model, with up or down expansion.

In the above example, the parameter Layer specifies the layout layer ("cond") that the block is placed on the bottom of , because it is not a spanning component ('Span' is not in its name), the layout layer "cond" is defined with a Thick, expansion up model, and the value of its parameter PlaceCustomComponentOnTop is set to no.

The parameter Layer2 is used to specify the layout layer to be used to draw the 2D footprint or mark-up of the component. By default, it is set to the layout layer named "default" which, by convention, is not mapped to a substrate layer. This means that the 2D markup will appear in the ADS layout window (if visibility is turned on for the layer "default") and therefore will provide a visual indication of where the 3D component will be situated relative to the other layout elements, but this 2D shape will not contribute in any way to the analysis of the 2D or 3D component. The value of Layer2 can be set to a layout layer that is mapped to a substrate layer (and there are reasons why it is sometimes a good idea to do this that will be explained in the next section of this document), but in these cases it will be included in 2D and 3D analysis.

All 3D Components also have the parameter material. A material is a property defined in EMPro, which is used in FEM calculations, and is stored with the 3D component model. The design kit configures a long list of available materials that can be selected for this parameter value.

In addition to these common parameters, each component has a unique set of parameters that are used to specify its shape. For example, the EMPro_LIBS3D_Block component has parameters depth, height, and width for specifying its dimensions.

Establishing Compatibility: Substrate Definition and Layer Mapping

Before performing FEM simulations or 3D preview of layouts that include 3D components, the FEM substrate has to be defined and its layers mapped to layout layers in a way that is consistent with the 3D component parameter values. Open the window to specify the substrate definition and layer mapping by selecting the layout menu: FEM > Substrate > Create/Modify.

All layout layers that are used as values for a 3D Component Layer parameter must be mapped to a substrate layer. As shown below, the layout layers "cond", "pcvia1" and "cond2" are all mapped to substrate layers, and can be used as values for the 3D components' Layer parameter. Refer to the ADS on-line documentation if further help is needed to understand FEM requirements with respect to substrate definition and layer mapping.

Special Considerations for 3D Operations

First, there must be at least one 2D object on each layer that a 3D Component either spans or has been placed on. If not, the ADS 3D Preview and FEM layout processor will not be able to access the 3D Component model. You should ensure that there is some 2D shape on the 3D Component Layer. One easy solution is to put the markup on the same layer as the 3D object; this is done my setting the value of the Layer2 parameter to the value of the Layer parameter.

Second, the 3D components are not taken into account when the bounding box size is determined, so the placement and dimensions of the 3D components can result in objects which extend outside of the FEM bounding box, as seen in the 3D Preview. The bounding box can be set to automatically expand by a given amount, to compensate for this shortcoming. To open the FEM AutoExtend Boundary window, select FEM > 3D Features > Auto-extend Boundary. Specify a reasonable value for the lateral and vertical extension, based on the size and placement of your 3D components. Use the 3D Preview iteratively to determine the best extension values for a particular design.

Troubleshooting Hints

  • If you have inserted one or more 3D component into your layout, but do not see any 3D components in the 3D Preview, then most likely you do not have the necessary codeword (emds_3d_param).
  • If you have inserted a 3D component and changed some parameters that affect the dimensions of the object, but see in the Preview window the object with the default dimensions, then there is a problem with the regeneration of the 3D object. (If any type of a problem is encountered when the component is regenerated, the default object will appear in the viewer.) This is caused by an invalid configuration, a corrupt database, or some other problem of that nature. About the only thing to try is to re-start ADS and try using the 3D components in a new design, and/or re-installing the design kit, and/or re-installing ADS.
  • If you have inserted one or more 3D component into your layout, but receive the following error after selecting a 3D Preview:

    It is likely you have placed a 3D component on a layer that does not have any 2D shapes on it. The solution to this problem it to either specify the Layer2 parameter to be the same as its Layer value (effectively inserting the shape of the 2D markup on the layer that the 3D model was placed on), or insert some 2D shape on any layer that has only 3D Components on it.
  • If you see 3D components extending outside the bounding box in a 3D Preview window, then you will need to auto-extend the boundary so that the 3D components are fully contained in the bounding box.

Component Reference

Default Library Component Types

The default library component types can be broken down to the following types.

  • Basic Shapes: Block, SolderBall, Cylinder
  • Span: Basic shapes that span a substrate layer.
  • Arrays: NxM arrays of basic shapes
  • Span Arrays: NxM arrays of spanning shapes
  • Array Outlines: 2(N-1)+2(M-1) basic shapes that form the outline of the array.
  • Span Array Outline: 2(N-1)+2(M-1) spanning shapes that form the outline of the array.

Basic and Span

Arrays and Span Arrays

Array and Span Array outlines

Parameterization of Components

Basic Shape Drawing - Block

Basic Shape Drawing - SolderBall

Basic Shape Drawing - Cylinder

Array and Array Outline Drawing

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