Software and Materials Support Antenna Design and Manufacturing

The single biggest advance in antenna engineering is the availability of multiple software tools that solve Maxwell’s equations using various numerical methods. The first of these (from the 1980s) were Method of Moments programs such as the Numerical Electromagnetics Code (NEC), which has been regularly updated and is still an important part of antenna design. NEC uses segmented lines, determining current and phase of each segment, then integrating the entire struc-ture. Near-field, far-field radiation, as well as response to an applied plane wave can all be accurately calculated. Similar methods are used in other software that applies the segmentation of the structure in different ways: planar structures, including layers (e.g., for patch antennas), and three-dimensional tools for solid materi-als, conformal structures and other antenna configura-tions that cannot be analyzed as planar structures.