Design and simulate of high-performance, printed-circuit board (PCB)-based passives and integrated passive devices

Reducing Size and Loss

Passive components such as couplers, circulators, and attenuators provide critical signal routing, detection, amplitude control, and/or waveform shaping. Couplers are necessary for dividing/combining power in antenna and amplifier feed structures, while attenuators ensure that components such as amplifiers are not driven by excessively large signals. Successful passive component design focuses on reducing the device footprint, costs, and associated insertion losses, while providing increased power-handling capabilities. (Image courtesy of C. J. Kikkert)

Faster Design

Accelerate design starts with powerful synthesis of lumped and distributed filter types.


Accurately predict the response of distributed and cavity-type filters with planar method-of-moments (MoM) and 3D finite-element method (FEM) electromagnetic (EM) analysis.


Directly import synthesized designs into Microwave Office circuit design software for further refinement, optimization, EM verification, and physical design.

Solution Highlights

Design Management

Passive component designs start with the selection of an appropriate medium such as microstrip, stripline, or monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) printed-circuit boards (PCBs) for the target application, frequency of operation, and performance goals. Physical dimensions for classic distributed designs are dictated by the wavelength of the operating frequency, which can be determined through an RF-aware transmission-line calculator. 

Model Support

Libraries of surface-mount technology (SMT) vendor components and distributed transmission-line elements allow designers to build and simulate passive components through a schematic editor fully-synchronized to a layout editor for physical realization. Parameterized EM subcircuits can be used for novel structures to develop passive components using custom building blocks. 


Designers rely on circuit/EM co-simulation along with RF-aware circuit simulation and frequency-dependent transmission-line models to provide embedded parasitic extraction and design verification. Prior to manufacture, component performance can be verified through planar or 3D EM analysis, depending on the geometry of the (packaged) device.

Associated Products

NI AWR Design Environment

The NI AWR Design Environment platform provides a single, complete design environment that seamlessly integrates simulation and design technologies and manages the circuit/system/EM components within a project, supporting schematic design entry and fully-synchronized physical design and layout.

Microwave Office

The Microwave Office frequency-domain, linear circuit simulator provides the frequency response (S-parameters) of passive components, allowing designers to improve the impedance match and reduce insertion loss through simulation and optimization. Design aids such as network synthesis (optional), design for manufacturing (optimization, yield and statistical analysis), device libraries for PCB-based designs, and process design kits (PDKs) for integrated passive devices (IPDs) help accelerate the design process.


The AXIEM 3D proprietary full-wave planar EM simulator is based on method-of-moments (MoM) fast-solver technology that readily analyzes passive structures, transmission lines, interconnects, vias, entire matching networks, and RF packaging. Designers can extract the S-parameters of passive structures and visualize fields and currents for potential resonances and other parasitics.


The Analyst™ simulator with integrated 3D finite-element method (FEM) EM analysis enables designers to model 3D structures used in PCB and integrated circuit (IC)-based devices, including package and board interconnects, via fencing, wire bonds, air bridges, and ball grids.

Visual System Simulator

Visual System Simulator™ (VSS) system design software provides designers with component specifications through link-budget analysis, enabling them to verify electrical requirements in the context of overall system performance. 


Network synthesis automatically creates two-port, impedance-matching networks for single- and multi-band antennas using proprietary evolutionary EM optimization.