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Knowledge Base

The boundary conditions that are supported by FDTD/MODE Solutions are listed below.

mesh_pml PML

Perfectly matched layer (PML)1 boundaries absorb electromagnetic waves incident upon them. They essentially model open (or reflectionless) boundaries. In FDTD and varFDTD simulation regions, the user can directly specify all the parameters that control their absorption properties including the number of layers. To facilitate the selection of PML parameters, a number of profiles (or predefined sets of parameters) are available under the boundary conditions tab. In most simulation scenarios, the user only needs to choose one of the predefined profiles and fine tune the number of layers. PML boundaries perform best when the surrounding structures extend completely through the boundary condition region. This will be the default behavior of structures whether or not they were drawn to end inside or outside the PML region.

1 J. P. Berenger, Perfectly Matched Layer (PML) for Computational Electromagnetics. Morgan & Claypool Publishers, 2007.

mesh_metal Metal

Metal boundary conditions are used to specify boundaries that behave as a Perfect Electric Conductor (PEC). The component of the electric field parallel to a metal (PEC) boundary is zero; the component of the magnetic field H perpendicular to a metal (PEC) boundary is also zero. Metal boundaries are perfectly reflecting, allowing no energy to escape the simulation volume along that boundary. In the FDE solver, metal BC is the default setting.

mesh_pmc PMC

Perfect Magnetic Conductor (PMC) boundary conditions are the magnetic equivalent of the metal (PEC) boundaries. The component of the magnetic field H parallel to a PMC boundary is zero; the component of the electric field perpendicular to a PMC boundary is also zero.

mesh_periodic Periodic

Periodic BC should be used when both the structures and EM fields are periodic. Periodic boundary conditions can be used in one or more directions (i.e. only in the x direction) to simulate a structure which is periodic in one direction but not necessarily other directions.

mesh_bloch Bloch (FDTD/varFDTD)

Bloch BC should be used when the structures and the EM fields are periodic, but a phase shift exists between each period. Bloch boundary conditions are used in FDTD and propagator simulations predominantly for the following two simulations:

Launching a plane wave at an angle to a periodic structure – in this situation, accurate reflection and transmission data can be measured at a single frequency point for a given simulation.

Calculating the bandstructure of a periodic object – in this situation, a broadband pulse is injected via a dipole source into a periodic structure.


note: if you choose BFAST plane wave source, the Bloch BCs will be automatically overridden and use its built_in boundary conditions.

mesh_symmmesh_antisymm Symmetric / Anti-Symmetric

Symmetric/anti-symmetric boundary conditions are used when the user is interested in a problem that exhibits one or more planes of symmetry; both the structure and source must be symmetric. Symmetric boundaries are mirrors for the electric field, and anti-mirrors for the magnetic field. On the other hand, antisymmetric boundaries are anti-mirrors for the electric field, and mirrors for the magnetic field. Careful consideration must be given to whether symmetric or anti-symmetric boundary conditions are required, given the vector symmetry of the desired solution. For meaningful results, the sources used must have the same symmetry as the boundary conditions. Further information about symmetric and anti-symmetric boundary conditions can be found in Choosing between symmetric and anti-symmetric BCs.


ALLOW SYMMETRY ON ALL BOUNDARIES: Allows symmetric boundary conditions with periodic structures (this option is not available in the boundary condition tab of mode sources and mode expansion monitors).

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