Jun 20, 2019

SEMCAD X Matterhorn Major Release V18.0

With SEMCAD X Matterhorn V18.0, SPEAG is pleased to announce a new and very powerful feature: our new low-frequency electromagnetic solver suite! The new solvers are finite element method (FEM) based, high-performance-computing (HPC) enabled, and operate on unstructured meshes. This results in a substantial increase in speed and accuracy in multi-scale applications where devices with small structural details are integrated in a larger, human-sized, environment.

Compared to other platforms available on the market, the new FEM solvers provide a number of important benefits, including unique semi-insulating layers, anisotropic tensorial inhomogeneous electrical conductivity, new boundary conditions, as well as specialized visualization and analysis tools. In addition, a new tetrahedral volume mesher, based on the powerful Visual Kinematics (VKI) engine is integrated to support the new solvers. The new mesher is ideally suited to handle relevant features of computer aided design (CAD) based structures, e.g., transmit/receive coils or other complex geometries.

Of particular interest to those concerned with induced fields and currents from wired coils, e.g., in the context of wireless power transfer (WPT), is the ability of the new unstructured solvers to deal accurately with wire current sources that cross mesh elements without having to explicitly discretize the wire geometry. Virtual prototyping and exposure assessment for WPT are now much faster.

Special emphasis has been placed on boosting graphical user interface (GUI) performance, in particular for handling huge amounts of modeling/simulation entities. 

In response to user requests, SEMCAD X V18.0 also features various improvements that boost modeling productivity and further push the boundaries of real-world simulation complexity. Highlights include new features for our 5G Toolkit (beamforming, cumulative distribution function (CDF), far-field figures of merit), usability increase of the GUI/Simulation Trees (secondary view, list, grouping, filtering), HPC/GPU extensions, and various data analysis/post-processing enhancements. 

Encompassing many additional features, improvements and bug fixes, the new release makes your every-day work even more fun and more effective. Feedback, as always, is greatly welcome!

Unstructured LF FEM Solvers


  • SEMCAD X Matterhorn V18.0 includes a wide range of validated HPC-enabled FEM solvers - designed to complement the established SEMCAD X solver suite.
  • The new solvers support message passing interface (MPI) parallelization based on a combination of the widely applied PETSc library for numerical matrix operations, powerful preconditioners (e.g., algebraic-multigrid method from HYPRE) and in-house developments. They support unstructured, mixed elements (tetrahedral, prismatic, shell, etc.).
  • The new solvers add a wide range of specific benefits inherent to simulations that support unstructured meshes (e.g., support for localized refinement, or conformal adaptivity) or that are particular to the specific solver that was implemented (ohmic-current-dominated electrostatic, electroquasistatic, magnetostatic, magnetoquasistatic).
  • All new solvers come with a dedicated Python API that allows power-users to further automatize processes or perform advanced analyses. Furthermore, the post-processor has been extended to support handling and visualization of unstructured result fields and inhomogeneous and/or anisotropic material property distributions.


  • To support the novel unstructured FEM solvers in SEMCAD X V18.0, a large number of meshing tools has been developed, including a new tetrahedral volume mesher based on the powerful VKI engine, capable of providing meshes from highly complex geometries and CAD structures.
  • The SEMCAD X V18.0 volume mesher is complemented with import tools for users who intend to use third-party meshes (e.g., VTK vtu, EXODUS, NASTRAN). In addition, a 2D mesher allows the creation of surface meshes of complex structures, such as nerve cross-sections.
  • In V18.0, advanced mesh processing tools capable of dealing with very complex meshes, such as from CAD-derived solids or from anatomical models, are readily available. These include (i) a local remeshing tool (locally adapts surface or volume meshes to improve mesh quality); (ii) a mesh refinement tool (refines the overall mesh or a sub-volume); (iii) a mesh extrusion tool (extrudes 2D meshes along a trajectory into prismatic/hexahedral based elongated structures); (iv) a thin layer insertion tool (inserts thin layers at interfaces between meshed regions).
  • Meshes can be visualized in a newly created mesh viewer, which also offers functionalities for quantification of mesh quality by means of a wide range of metrics and rapid visualization of low-quality element locations requiring further processing.

First hands-on experience by power users of the new LF FEM solver suite on the basis of automotive WPT system performance and safety assessment. Watch the movie here.

Unrivaled 5G Simulation Toolbox: Important New Features


  • Owing to the versatility of both the Parameterization Engine and the data analysis pipeline, SEMCAD X Matterhorn V18.0 can now be used to quantitatively determine how a device might operate under different operating conditions.
  • The existing parameterized Sweep function allows the new Aggregate algorithm to gather figures of merit of phased-array antennas (e.g., gain or polarization) across a user-defined range of configurations. This ensures evaluation of the maximum gain that can be achieved in any spatial direction when sweeping through the entire codebook of available phase/amplitude configurations.
  • In V18.0, a CDF algorithm has been added for any dataset expressed in spherical coordinates, such as far-field quantities, which can be used, for example, to evaluate the coverage capability of an antenna array.


  • Of particular importance for antenna design engineers, the Radiation Evaluator for antenna simulations in V18.0 now computes two additional figures of merit: the front/back ratio and the side lobe level.

UI Enhancements & Performance Boosts


  • Huge efforts have been made to refactor parts of the UI code in V18.0 to drastically increase performance of the model and simulation trees when handling hundreds of thousands of entities (solids, objects).
  • UI responsiveness could thus be reduced from several minutes to a fraction of a second for tree buildup and handling (scrolling, multi-selection, etc.), ribbon and context population, and tab switching (independent of the number of selected items).
  • V18.0 now also provides a new ultrafast, asynchronous search and filter algorithm for trees.


  • To further increase usability, the simulation outline view in SEMCAD X V18.0 has been enhanced and now offers a brand-new secondary tree view in the explorer tree.
  • The secondary tree view allows the user to intuitively build, monitor, and manage complex simulation trees with lots of components, thanks to a clever way of splitting the view based on a dedicated grouping and visualization of objects that share the same settings.

HPC & Post-Processing/Analysis


  • In combination with the latest AXE GPU, HPC library, the new release provides support for the NVIDIA Turing generation GPU architecture (enabling GPUs like the GeForce RTX 2080), resulting in a significant performance boost over previous architectures.


  • SEMCAD X V18.0 now includes a Maximum Intensity Projection viewer, which allows visualization at a glance of a 3D field distribution projected onto a 2D plane. The method is essential, e.g., for analysis of field distributions and to track local hotspots in terms of specific absorption rate (SAR), temperature, etc.
  • Generic interpolation and conversion to cell and point data (commonly used in analysis workflows) is faster by a factor of at least 50.


  • The end of life (EOL) date for Python 2.7, which is currently included in SEMCAD X, has been announced for 2020. In addition, there is a growing demand from our users for implementation of the latest Python 3 framework. To accommodate this need, we are happy to announce that Python 3 will be made available in SEMCAD X by the end of 2019. We are working tirelessly on different updating strategies to make sure that our users will experience a smooth transition to the higher Python version.

A more comprehensive list of improvements, fixes, and new features is included in the Release Notes.

To experience the power and elegance of SEMCAD X Matterhorn V18.0 or for further information, please email us at or call us at +41 44 245 9700.

The relevant SEMCAD X Matterhorn installers for Win7/Win8/8.1/Win10 64-bit platforms can be downloaded here. Existing customers with up-to-date annual maintenance and support plans will receive individually all pertinent information regarding the software installer download and updated licenses.

SPEAG is committed to empowering our customers to reach new heights of productivity and scientific achievement by providing outstanding innovative software solutions, testing equipment, and service.

The SEMCAD X Matterhorn Team


Unstructured Mesh

Tetrahedral mesh for unstructured FEM simulation of a WPT transmit coil in SEMCAD X V18.0: Local refinement under constrained quality bounds was used to enforce high resolution of the conformal mesh near the wire while maintaining good conditioning of all elements.


WPT Simulation

Analysis/post-processing in SEMCAD X Matterhorn V18.0: Low-frequency magnetic field generated by a transmit/receive WPT coil system in use for charging an electric vehicle. The unstructured FEM solvers also compute the electric field induced inside a person who is crouching beside the front wheel. The visualization shows the SAR at the surface of the skin.


5G Toolkit

Extended 5G Toolkit in SEMCAD X Matterhorn V18.0: Radiation pattern and electric near-field of a steerable 5G customer premises equipment (CPE) base station operating at 25 GHz. All eight independent ports were simulated within minutes on a recent GPU - GeForce RTX 2080.



Extended CDF in SEMCAD X Matterhorn V18.0: Gain envelope of a steerable antenna array, with a user-defined codebook at 28 GHz, computed by aggregating results from a sweep. The achieved Gain CDF can be used to assess the spatial coverage of the beam-forming system.


UI Secondary Tree

UI enhancements in SEMCAD X Matterhorn V18.0: The new secondary tree view in the explorer tree allows the user to easily and intuitively build, monitor, and manage complex simulation trees with hundreds of thousands of components.


HEAD-P10 Simulation Exposure Evaluator

Latest HPC boosts in SEMCAD X Matterhorn V18.0: Radiation performance assessment of a radiofrequency-powered contact lens mounted on the HEAD-P10 EM Phantom (SPEAG). The combination of nested subgridding around the eye and contact lens with the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (latest NVIDIA Turing architecture) allowed the simulation to be completed in less than 15 minutes (>100 million cells, 10 µm resolution for the lens). Without subgridding and with older GPU architecture, this simulation would have required more than 2 days to run.


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