In modern electronic devices, high-speed digital and analog circuits are often found in close proximity to multiple RF modules on a single printed circuit board. When developing complex system projects, up to 75% of the time can be spent on the radio frequency part, which makes it necessary to find ways to increase the efficiency of this process.

In this series of tutorials, I’ll introduce you to the basic tools of the PADS Professional Option, which provides independent engineers and development teams with powerful RF and microwave design capabilities.

Designing printed RF and microwave boards requires adherence to a large number of nuances specific to this area of ​​electronics. In order to accommodate all these nuances, highly integrated solutions are needed to help you reduce development time and increase its reliability.

  1. PADS Professional Layout is optimized for RF path design and provides the user with a powerful set of RF path design tools
  2. There is a big difference between using tools that simply support RF objects and using tools that truly intelligently recognize all RF, microwave elements.
  3. Direct integration with leading RF, microwave and RF design tools in both schematic and layout design eliminates manual data transfers
    • Design with Keysight ADS or National Instruments AWR, then import schematic and / or topology into PADS Pro
    • Design with PADS Pro and then export your schematic and / or topology to Keysight ADS or National Instruments AWR for EM simulation.
    • For ease of use with third-party RF / Microwave development tools, you can set up a single design environment to support synchronization of libraries and exchange of schematic information.
  4. The ability to parametrically change the properties of RF elements and their automatic layout help the user when designing complex devices
  5. Elimination of errors due to dynamic updating of the project base
  6. Reduce development time with parallel RF stage and PCB design
  7. Effective interaction between RF / microwave and PCB designers
  8. Reduced product cost due to improved manufacturability prior to production launch

Lesson 1 – Creating RF Objects in Topology and Schematic

In this lesson, you will import the DXF shape of a strip antenna, convert it to an RF object, and create a symbol from it for use in the schematic.

  1. Double-click the PADS Pro Layout VX.2.x desktop icon or select
    START Menu> PADS Pro Tools VX.2.x> PADS Pro Layout VX.2.x.
  2. From the PADS Professional Layout start page, click Open and open
    C: RF Design Lesson1 PCB Lesson1.pcb.
    • If a licensing dialog box appears, make sure the option PADS Professional RF Design installed and click OK
  3. To make it easier to customize the workspace, activate the display scheme RF Routingwhich will add a toolbox for RF / Microwave development
    • On the main toolbar, expand the list of display schemes
    • Select a scheme RF Routing
  4. Next, we need to import the DXF strip antenna
    • Go to the menu File> Import> DXF
    • In the DXF Import dialog, click on the three dots opposite DXF Filename
    • Open the file C: RF Design Lesson1 RFDemoPatch.dxf
    • In field DXF Cell Name enter DXF_PatchAnt
    • Enter DXF_PatchAnt in the section DXF Layer mapping> User Layers
    • Check the box in DXF Layer mapping> DXF Layer Names
    • Click OK. You will see the following
  5. You should see the antenna appear to the left of the PCB. For better visualization of the antenna, let’s change its color.
    • Open the panel Display Control
    • Select a tab Fab
    • Scroll down to section User Draft Layers
    • Click on the color field next to DXF_PatchAnt and choose a light color
  6. Now we will convert this drawing object to a radio frequency object
    • Zoom in on the area with the antenna and select it
    • Go to the menu RF> Convert> Drawing Cell to RF Shape

  7. An outline will now appear around the antenna, indicating that it has been converted. These lines around the antenna show the areas of the rules. Before creating the schematic symbol, we need to add an RF port to be used as a pin.
    • Turn on the “Snap” tool to make sure that we place the port exactly on the border of the object at its midpoint
      • Click PKM and select Snap> Toggle Hover Snap
    • Click on the icon Add Edge Node on the RF panel. This can also be done from the right-click menu
    • Bring the left end of the antenna closer
    • Place the cursor on the left edge of the antenna and click Paintwork… This will select the newly created antenna.
    • Click near the center of the line when the cursor snaps to the edge of the midpoint
    • A dialog box will appear Add Edge Node… From the dropdown list Nets choose RX1
    • Click Apply
  8. We can now create a schematic symbol from our RF object.
    • Open up Component Explorer
    • Under Lesson1 click PKM by DXF_PatchAnt
    • From the context menu select Generate Library Shape
    • Click OK
  9. This concludes Lesson 1.

Test 30-day licenses can be requested HERE

Materials for this and subsequent lessons can be downloaded HERE

You can also watch a video version of this tutorial:

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Filipov Bogdan pbo, Product Manager for PADS solutions at Nanosoft.

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