Free Computational Electromagnetic Modeling Codes
The software in this list is either free or available at a nominal charge and can be downloaded over the internet. Some of the codes require the user to register with the distributor's web site.
This page has been translated into Serbo-Croatian here.
(Last update: March 2, 2014 )
ASAP - Antenna Scatterers Analysis Program
A general purpose user-oriented computer program for analysis of thin-wire structures in the presence of finite ground. An alternative to the Numerical Electromagnetics Code (NEC) for analyzing insulated or bare thin wire antenna structures over a lossy or perfect ground plane based on the moment method. Still available on the web at: http://raylcross.net/asap/index.html; however the web page has not been updated recently and the contact information no longer works.
A free, open-source program for computing the properties of transmission lines. It is a 2D simulator based on a finite difference approximation to Laplace's Equation. The program is primarily designed for Unix or Unix-like systems, although it has been compiled on a Windows system. It is highly portable, having been run on both a Cray supercomputer, a Sony Playstation 3 games console, and virtually every type of computer in between these two extremes. The user has to draw the cross section of the transmission line using a program able to save .BMP files (e.g. Gimp), then process the .BMP files with atlc. The program is written by Dr. David Kirkby (G8WRB).
Inspired by 'atlc', but written by a different author, 'atlc2' is a free but closed source Microsoft Windows program for computing the properties of transmission lines. It is a 2D simulator based on Faraday's Law. The user has to draw the cross section of the transmission line using a program able to save .BMP files (e.g. Gimp), then process the .BMP files with atlc2.
This was formerly the Toy and ToyBox codes. emAnalyze is a collection of 3D test and example codes for time-domain local-operator methods. The website is still under development. It is not clear if the codes are still available at no charge.
EMAP is a family of three-dimensional electromagnetic modeling codes developed at the University of Missouri-Rolla and Clemson University. Each code has different capabilities, but they all have a common easy to understand input file format. EMAP2 is a scalar FEM code, EMAP3 is a vector FEM code, and EMAP5 is a vector FEM/MoM code.
EMCoS Antenna VLab SV is a computational platform for modeling antennas and their surrounding environment. It has a CAD interface and its simulation core is based on the Method of Moments. The student version includes a fully functional EM solver limited to 2GB memory for in-core or out-of-core calculations.
EM Explorer (EMXP) is a 3D electromagnetic (EM) solver for plane wave scattering problems of periodic structures. It is largely based on the same method of Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD). Therefore it inherits most of FDTD's advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include simple & robust numerical algorithm, versatility for nearly any geometries, and good scalability of computing resources as a function of simulation volume size. The disadvantages are numerical dispersion and stability constraint due to the finite difference (FD) approximation to Maxwell's equations and explicit time marching algorithm.
The emGine Environment is a full-wave 3D electromagnetic simulation environment solving Maxwell's equations in time-domain. It is used for the modeling of high-frequency electromagnetic field in microwave circuits, antennas, resonators, hollow waveguides, etc. For non-commercial and non-governmental usage, e.g., for academic, research and educational purposes, the tlmGine electromagnetic engine is provided for free in binary format (i.e., no source code is provided for the electromagnetic engine). The emGine GUI - the graphical user interface - is an open source project and is licensed under the tri-license MPL/GPL/LGPL.
ERMES (Electric Regularized Maxwell Equations with Singularities) is a finite element code in the frequency domain implemented in C++ . The current version of ERMES is multi-processor (OpenMP) and it runs on Microsoft Windows. ERMES has a user-friendly interface created with Tcl/Tk and integrated in the commercial software GiD.
FastCap and FastHenry are open-source static moment method codes designed to calculate the resistance, capacitance, and inductance of 3D geometries. They were developed at the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics.
A light version of the FEKO Software from EMSS. Limited to 300 unknowns. Requires user registration.
FEMM - Finite Element Method Magnetics
A set of programs running under win95/98/nt for the finite element solution of planar/axisymmetric problems in magnetostatics and low frequency magnetics. Includes a graphical preprocessor, a solver, and a graphical postprocessor. A free version is currently available. Authored by David Meeker, Ph.D. Available on the web at: http://www.femm.info.
LC is simulation tool for the analysis of the electromagnetic properties of electrical interconnects that runs on CRAY, SGI or LINUX/x86 workstations. The full three-dimensional circuit is modeled, so all interactions are automatically included in the solution. The model can be excited by numerous types of waveforms, and the transient response measured using common values such as voltage and current. Circuit parameters such as inductance, capacitance, and impedance can be derived from the transient response, and frequency-domain results such as S-parameters can also be calculated. Far field radiation patterns can be obtained.
LC is primarily an electromagnetic simulation and uses the Finite-Difference Time-Domain (FDTD) technique. FDTD is a full wave explicit solution of Maxwell's equations in three dimensions. In FDTD, the rectangular volume enclosing the model is discretized into a large number of small cells, which may be uniformly-sized, or may vary in size within the simulation space. The dielectric, permeable, lossy, and conducting material properties of each cell are incorporated into the field updates, which are performed iteratively in small time steps.
An interface between the electromagnetic simulation and the circuit simulation program SPICE is available within LC. This allows the user to add arbitrary SPICE circuits, such as drivers and loads, into the interconnect model. The interconnect performance is calculated using the electromagnetic simulation, while the lumped-element circuits are evaluated by SPICE. Both simulations are performed in the time domain, and proceed in lock step.
MagNet Trial Edition is a fully functional 2D magnetostatic field solver that contains all of the same features as a full edition of MagNet's magnetostatic 2D package.
A Microsoft Windows program, based on the method of moments, for simulating wire antennas This is based on NEC2 and is a limited version of the full MMANA-GAL program.
MEEP is a free finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulation software package developed at MIT to model electromagnetic systems. Meep supports 1d/2d/3d/cylindrical problems, distributed-memory parallelism, dispersive and nonlinear media, PML boundaries, and is completely scriptable via both C++ and Scheme (GNU Guile) interfaces.
The Multiple Multipole (MMP) algorithms were developed by Christian Hafner at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). The algorithms have evolved and been incorporated into the commercial code, Max-1, but the original 2D and 3D source codes are still available for free at the above link.
NEC2 - the Numerical Electromagnetics Modeling code is a widely used 3D code based on the method of moments. It was developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory more than 10 years ago and has been compiled and run on many different computer systems. NEC2 is particularly effective for analyzing wire-grid models, but also has some surface patch modeling capability. Codes are also available at Ray Anderson's Unofficial Archives at Ray Anderson's Unofficial Archives.
NEC2 uses a text interface. There a several free or inexpensive graphical interfaces that do pre- and post-processing of NEC2 models. A good free code is 4nec2, which can be found at http://home.ict.nl/~arivoors/.
OpenEMS is a free and open-source electromagnetic field solver employing the FDTD method. It uses Matlab or Octave as a scripting interface. openEMS is licensed under the GNU General Public License, Version 3 or later.
pdnMesh is a program that can solve 2D potential problems (Poisson Equation) and eigenvalue problems (Helmholtz Equation) using the Finite Element Method. Common applications occur in electromagnetics, heat flow and fluid dynamics. It can solve problems using both Nodal Based Formulation and Edge Based (Vector) Formulation.
Provides surface Method of Moments for electromagnetics, enhanced by using the Multilevel Fast Multipole Method. Code is parallelized and runs on desktops and clusters.
Software for 3D magnetostatics, which uses a finite volume integral approach for accurate computation of integrated field components. It works with Mathematica and is available for at no charge.
The SATE 6.2 freeware from Field Precision includes the 2D programs EStat and PerMag. The education programs have full capabilities but are limited to 12,500 nodes and 8 material regions. EStat determines electric fields in dielectric or conductive media. Advanced capabilities include support for anisotropic materials and the option to define continuous variations of potential, dielectric constant or conductivity from mathematical functions. PerMag covers all aspects of magnetostatics, including saturation effects in soft materials and permanent magnets with non-linear demagnetization curves. The package includes Mesh, an automatic conformal mesh generator with a built-in drawing editor and DXF import capability.
Students' QuickField(TM), formerly known as ELCUT, is a 2D finite element simulation package solving plane and axisymmetric problems of electrostatics, nonlinear DC magnetics, AC magnetics, current flow, nonlinear heat transfer, stress analysis and coupled problems on any PC.
A feature-limited version of Sonnet Software's planar-MOM electromagnetic simulation software.
A nice 2-D solver for determining the transmission line parameters of printed circuit board trace geometries. It's capable of analyzing trace cross-sections consisting of many traces, planes and lossy dielectric materials. Can export RLGC parameters to HSPICE or ADS.