COMSOL provides software solutions for multiphysics modeling. It is a fast growing high tech engineering software company. COMSOL Multiphysics is a finite element analysis, solver and Simulation software / FEA Software package for various physics and engineering applications, especially coupled phenomena, or multiphysics. Dr. Samarth Agarwal, Office Manager, Delhi COMSOL Multiphysics had a candid conversation with ELE Times during COMSOL conference last month at Pune, India. Excerpts from the interview.
ELE Times: What is the significance of Multiphysics? How can product developers use Multiphysics? Please make us understand with an example.
Samarth Agarwal: Technology today, be it the designing of a simple light bulb or an automobile, require inputs from different areas of science and engineering. The ability to handle these different physical phenomena together through computer simulations is called Multiphysics. Any product developer would need to be mindful of these different phenomena influencing the product design simultaneously. To be able to handle these complexities one would have to resort to using a Multiphysics simulator like COMSOL. Adopting an approach that is not Multiphysics in nature would never allow a product designer to reach the most optimum operating points, given that the design space is typically large. For example in the designing of a light bulb, one has to look at several aspects, like the heat transfer inside the bulb, structural strength and electrical properties of the materials all at the same time. By taking these phenomena one at a time, one cannot possibly understand the effect they have on each other and therefore it would be virtually impossible to achieve the best combination. A Multiphysics approach on the other hand would help in designing this efficiently and give the optimum solution in a given design space.
ELE Times: What are the several important roles in simulation-based design? (As product development moves towards completely digitized processes, Multiphysics simulations can play several important roles in simulation-based design. What are they)? How has the emergence of a shorter time-to-market affected work practices?
Samarth Agarwal: Though the importance of simulation is well understood, the move towards Multiphysics simulations is more recent. Previously several different teams
working independently with different simulation tools would design different aspects of the technology. Now as these different technology aspects get intertwined, a Multiphysics approach is essential. Uniformity across these teams also demands that as far as possible a similar software platform capable of handling a wide range of problems be used. In addition to that, all tasks down to analysing data and creating reports can be handled by COMSOL. Uniformity and standardization across teams has also reduced the time-to-market. So an organization looking at choosing a computer simulator must ensure that they adopt an approach that makes it easy to achieve their objectives of streamlining processes and keeping the time to market as short as possible.
ELE Times: Can you elaborate on simulation for everyone? What ramification does the Application Builder has for semiconductor industry?
Samarth Agarwal: The essential idea is to be able to use simulation capability such that one is required to look only at parameters relevant to the problem, rather than all the details of a Multiphysics simulation. The Application Builder from COMSOL is a big step in this direction. It gives the power to the user to design a custom interface keeping only relevant design parameters, and then pass them on to other users in the form of an application. This way a larger group of people will then have access to simulations in any organization. For example in the semi-conductor industry, various teams are involved in the manufacturing stage and have knowledge of the operating points of the technology. The technology design however is taken care of by a relatively smaller R&D team. Using the application builder, the R&D team can reach out to a large number of experts in the manufacturing team through custom designed applications and get feedback on their design. The manufacturing team will only have to deal with the relevant parameters and not with all the details that went into building a Multiphysics simulation model. This would ensure a smoother transition of any design from concept to manufacturing.
ELE Times: What major electronics design challenges does simulation help tackle? What are the offerings from COMSOL for an electrical and
Samarth Agarwal: Even in the electronics domain COMSOL has demonstrated that complicated problems in optoelectronics and mems can be handled using a Multiphysics approach. These problems are particularly involved because of the need to understand different sub-disciplines in the electronics domain. The capability of COMSOL in electrical and electronics engineering ranges from being able to treat low frequency or DC to high frequency problems in electromagnetism. The semiconductor capability on the other had allows analysis at the device physics level. Geometrical ray tracing can be done using the Ray optics capability. COMSOL is capable of handling problems in EMI/EMC (Electromagnetic interferenc/Electromagn-etic compatibility) which involves simulating electromagnetic energy generation and propagation. More involved topics like plasmonics where the interaction of electromagnetic fields with electrons is studied can also be attempted. The electrical capability in COMSOL can not only handle mixed simulations involving circuits and devices, but it can also interface with other circuit simulators. Finally other related phenomena like heat transfer and thermal expansion can be seamlessly integrated into the electronics capability.
ELE Times: Please give a brief account of the paper presented at COMSOL Conference held at Pune.
Samarth Agarwal: Participation from the COMSOL community has gone from strength to strength, with over a 100 presentations from both industry and academia being submitted at this year’s conference held in Pune. Electromagnetism and related topics seemed to be the most popular area of work. The top academic institutions from across the country were well represented. The industry participation was from several leading corporates and government labs. The level of work can be gauged from the fact that several of the papers presented close comparisons between simulations and experiments. These presentations are now available online.