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Teaching Electromagnetics via Virtual Tools

Levent Sevgi
Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
Okan University, Istanbul, Turkey

Abstract—Virtual tool based novel teaching methods in Table 2. Advanced-level EM virtual Tools.
electromagnetic will be discussed. Fundamental concepts, such as
modeling and simulation, analytical- and numerical-based
modeling, simulation, validation, verification, etc., in relation to
the virtual labs widely-covered as parts of engineering education WEDGEGUI A 2D MATLAB-based simulator for the modeling of EM
will be reviewed. Sample virtual tools that can be used in basic as [12] diffraction from a semi-infinite non-penetrable wedge
using high frequency asymptotics.
well as advanced level courses will be shown.
WEDGEFDTD A 2D MATLAB-based simulator for the modeling of EM
[13] diffraction from a semi-infinite non-penetrable wedge
I. INTRODUCTION using high frequency asymptotics and FDTD.
We have witnessed a transformation from engineering GRMOMPE A MATLAB package which modifies MoM method by
electromagnetic to electromagnetic engineering for the last [14] the application of forward backward spectral acceleration
(FBSA) technique and integrate it with the SSPE method.
couple of decades, therefore virtual labs and tools have SSPE vs. MoM comparisons are possible..
become attractive in education and training [1-4]. The overall MSTRIP [15] An FDTD-based microstrip circuit simulator. The user
effectiveness is very positive and the impact on students is that only needs to picture the microstrip circuit via computer
they are better equipped to understand physics and use mouse on a rectangular grid, to specify basic dimensions,
the frequency band and simulation length.
mathematics. MGL-RCS An FDTD-based EM simulator for RCS prediction. The
[16] user only needs to locate a 3D image file of the target in
Several user-friendly electromagnetic virtual tools have 3DS graphics format, specify dimensions and supply other
been introduced together with useful tutorials in the IEEE AP user parameters.
DRMIX [17] A MATLAB-based Millington package prepared for the
Magazine [5-17]. The IEEE motto “Teach me I’ll forget, show
mixed-path path loss predictions.
me, I’ll remember, involve me, I’ll understand” is best
expressed with these tools. Table 1 and 2 lists some of these
basic and advanced level tools, respectively. These tutorials as
well as the IEEE Press – Wiley book “Electromagnetic Figures 1-3 show some of these virtual tools. The
Modeling and Simulation” together with these virtual tools can MATLAB-based ARRAY tool as displayed in Fig.1 has been
be used in teaching several undergraduate and graduate level prepared for the visualization of radiation characteristics of
EM courses. planar arrays of isotropic radiators. The tool can be used to
visualize beam forming and beam steering. Here, a circular
Table 1 Basic level EM virtual tools. array of 21 isotropic radiators at 300 MHz, with the beam
angles, 0=90º and 0=0 is given.
RAYMODE Ray/mode representations inside a parallel plate non-
[5] penetrable waveguide.
SNELL [6] Visualization of ray contributions between a
source/receiver pair above a 2D ground and through a
propagation medium characterized by various vertical
refractivity profiles using the ray shooting technique.
ARRAY [7] Investigation of radiation patterns of various arrays of
isotropic radiators.
TDRMETER A virtual time-domain reflectometer virtual tool used to
[8] locate and identify faults in all types of metallic cables.
MGL2D [9] A general purpose 2D FDTD package for both TE and
TM type problems
MTM-FDTD Modified version of MGL-2D to simulate cylindrical
[10] wave propagation through MeTaMaterials (MTM)..
WEDGEGUIDE A 2D MATLAB-based simulator for the modeling of
[11] Green’s function in terms of normal mode, adiabatic
mode and intrinsic mode representations.
Fig. 1. Simple array of isotropic radiators virtual tool.

978-1-4799-7815-1/15/$31.00 ©2015 IEEE 1021 AP-S 2015

The tool presented in Fig. 2 belongs to a simple MATLAB simulations. Also, basic lectures, such as measurement
package prepared for the visualization of ray shooting techniques should be improved accordingly and concepts like
technique. A number of ray trajectories, whose angles of accuracy, precision, resolution, error, uncertainty should be
departures are specified by the user, through a propagation well taught. Although, labs and test instruments have been
medium characterized by various linear vertical refractivity simulated as virtual reality environments, which may be as
profiles can be plotted. Here, rays through an atmosphere with good as the real environment, hands-on practice and training
a typical tri-linear refractivity profile are plotted. still is a must in engineering education. Computer simulations
are as necessary as hands-on training; therefore, modeling and
simulation lectures should be included in engineering
[1] L. Sevgi, Electromagnetic Modeling and Simulation, IEEE Press – John
Wiley (EM Wave Series), NJ, Apr 214.
[2] L. Sevgi, “Teaching Electromagnetic Modeling and Simulation as a
Graduate-Level Course,” IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine,
vol. 54, no. 5, Oct 2012, pp.261-269.
[3] L. Sevgi, “Virtual Tools/Labs in Electrical Engineering Education,”
ELEKTRIK, Turkish J. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
(Special issue on Electrical and Computer Engineering Education in the
21st Century: Issues, Perspectives and Challenges), vol. 14, no. 1, 2006,
pp., 113-127.
[4] Visit http://leventsevgi.net for the virtual tools discussed here.
[5] L. B. Felsen, F. Akleman, L. Sevgi, "Wave Propagation Inside a Two-
Fig. 2. Simple ray-shooting virtual tool. dimensional Perfectly Conducting Parallel Plate Waveguide: Hybrid
Ray-Mode Techniques and Their Visualisations,” IEEE Antennas and
Propagation Magazine, vol. 46, no.6, Dec 2004, pp.69-89.
An FDTD-based, full-wave, sophisticated radar cross section [6] L. Sevgi, “A Ray shooting Visualisation Matlab Package for 2D
(RCS) prediction virtual tool is shown in Fig. 3. The user only Groundwave Propagation Simulations,” IEEE Antennas and
needs to import a graphics file of a target and specify Propagation Magazine, vol. 46, no 4, Aug 2004, pp.140-145.
discretization and operational parameters. The rest is handled [7] L. Sevgi, Ç. Uluışık, “A MATLAB-based Visualization Package for
Planar Arrays of Isotropic Radiators,” IEEE Antennas and Propagation
by the tool and RCS vs. frequency and/or RCS vs. angle Magazine, 47 (1), Feb 2005, pp. 156-163.
variations are plotted. [8] L. Sevgi, Ç. Uluışık, “A Matlab-based Transmission Line Virtual Tool:
Finite-Difference time-Domain Reflectometer,” IEEE Antennas and
Propagation Magazine, vol. 48, no 1, Feb 2006, pp.141-145.
[9] G. Çakır, M. Çakır, L. Sevgi, "A Multipurpose FDTD-Based Two
Dimensional Electromagnetic Virtual Tool,” IEEE Antennas and
Propagation Magazine, vol. 48, no.4, Aug 2006, pp.142-151.
[10] M. Çakır, G. Çakır, L. Sevgi, “A Two-dimensional FDTD-based Virtual
Metamaterial - Wave Interaction Visualization Tool,” IEEE Antennas
and Propagation Magazine, vol. 50, no. 3, Jun 2008, pp.166-175.
[11] L. Sevgi, F. Akleman, L. B. Felsen, "Visualizations of Wave Dynamics
in a Wedge-waveguide with non-penetrable Boundaries: Normal,
Adiabatic, and Intrinsic Mode Representations,” IEEE Antennas and
Propagation Magazine, vol. 49, no.3, Jun 2007, pp.76-94.
[12] F. Hacıvelioğlu, M. A. Uslu, L. Sevgi, “A Matlab-based Virtual Tool for
the Electromagnetic Wave Scattering from a Perfectly Reflecting
Wedge”, IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, vol.53, no. 6, Dec
2011, pp.234–243.
[13] M. A. Uslu, L. Sevgi,“Matlab-based Virtual Wedge Scattering Tool for
the Comparison of High Frequency Asymptotics and FDTD Method”,
ACES Journal, vol. 27, no. 9, 2012, pp.697–705.
Fig. 2. Fullwave, FDTD based RCS virtual tool. [14] F. Akleman, L. Sevgi, "A Novel MoM- and SSPE-based Groundwave
Propagation Field Strength Prediction Simulator,” IEEE Antennas and
Propagation Magazine, vol. 49, no.5, Oct 2007, pp.69-82.
III. CONCLUSIONS AND DISCUSSIONS [15] G. Çakır, M. Çakır, L. Sevgi, “A Novel Virtual FDTD-Based Microstrip
Circuit Design and Analysis Tool,” IEEE Antennas and Propagation
Virtual labs have become attractive and effective tools in Magazine, vol. 48, no.6, Dec 2006, pp.161-173.
electromagnetic engineering education. In addition to the other [16] G. Cakır, M. Cakır, L. Sevgi, “An FDTD-based Parallel Virtual Tool for
techniques such as problem-based learning, inquiry-based the RCS Calculations of Complex Targets,” IEEE Antennas and
Propagation Magazine, vol. 56, no.5, Oct 2014, pp.74-90.
teaching, virtual tool based engineering education and training [17] L. Sevgi, “A Mixed-Path Groundwave Field Strength Prediction Virtual
should be discussed in detail under available teaching Tool for Digital Radio Broadcast Systems in Medium and Short Wave
resources and smooth adaptation should be made accordingly. Bands,” IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, vol. 48, no 4, Aug
Engineers should be well equipped in terms of physical 2006, pp.19-27.
understanding, mathematival modeling as well as computer