Why do you need SPARK3D?

Typical approaches to determine the RF Breakdown power level of any component are based on pseudo-analytical approaches which are, by nature, extremely conservative. SPARK3D is based on advanced methods which analyse the breakdown phenomena considering the complexity of the phenomena involved. As a consequence, by using SPARK3D realistic breakdown power levels are obtained, improving significantly the design margins. This may avoid the need to perform high power tests which automatically results in a huge savings of costs. Indeed, just avoiding one single high power test would justify the acquisition of the software and its maintenance for many years.


SPARK3D is a unique simulation tool capable to determine the microwave breakdown power level in a wide variety of passive devices. By importing the Electromagnetic field from some of the most well-known EM commercial solvers, SPARK3D is able to analyse vacuum breakdown (multipactor) and gas discharge. As outcome, the maximum power that the device can handle without developing a discharge is provided.

Thanks to its coupling to commercial tools, it is highly flexible and versatile allowing the analysis of any type of components based on a wide range of technologies such as cavities, waveguides, microstrip, antenna, etc. Moreover SPARK3D can be easily extended to be used by other software tools.

SPARK3D is a module of FEST3D that can be also acquired as an stand-alone program.


SPARK3D has several features in order to better analyse high power effects in devices:

   - Imports ANSYS® HFSS™ EM fields to perform high power simulations.
   - Imports CST Microwave Studio® EM fields to perform high power simulations.
   - Imports FEKO EM fields to perform high power simulations.
   - Imported EM fields can be visualized.
   - Analysis boxes can be defined in order to choose the critical regions to be analysed.
   - CAD-like and intuitive graphical interface to the user.
   - Real-time output interface with rich simulation data, in table, plot and 3D view forms, for each particular region.
   - Compare regions feature allows for easily visualizing the results of all analysis regions at a time.


What's new in version 2016a (February 2016 - Initial release) , (September 2016 - Patch2)

   1. Completely redesigned Graphical User Interface with new functionalities:
     - High Power simulations are now hierarchicaly structured in a Solution tree.
     - Different meshes, region definitions and configurations can be stored in one Solution. (Different imported files can be grouped).
     - Several multipactor and corona configurations can be defined for the same EM file.
     - Replacing an EM file keeping all existing configurations is straightforward.
     - Improved visualization of analysis regions.
     - Several Solutions can be opened at the same time.
     - Tree items (meshes, regions and configurations) can be easily edited, compared and copied.
     - Several configurations can be launched in sequential order.
     - Simulations can be paused / resumed.
   2. Improved efficiency in mesh load / import operations.

What's new in version 1.6.x (July 2015)

   - In this new version, together with CST SP3 and a new macro, it is possible to import the fields from CST excluding the dielectric objects.
   - Added SEY material from The AEROSPACE multipactor standard: AEROSPACE REPORT NO. TOR-2014-02198
   - Possibility to import the DC magnetic field from ANSYS MAXWELL.
   - Possibility to import the DC electric field from ANSYS MAXWELL.
   - Possibility to import the fields from ANSYS HFSS in different units: meter, millimeter, inches.
   - Acceleration of the simulation when importing the fields from ANSYS HFSS.

What's new in version 1.5.x (Jul-Oct 2014)

   - Corona: Added videos feature to see behaviour of gas discharge. Info HERE
   - Corona: Ability to choose manual/automatic initial power. Info HERE
   - Multipactor: Added videos feature to see behaviour of electrons and discharge. Info HERE
   - Multipactor: Added custom power loops. Info HERE
   - Multipactor: Added "Stop simulation on fixed time" feature. Info HERE

Videos showing SPARK3D simulations

Corona simulation video Multipactor simulation video

Unique tool

   - High power prediction simulations can be performed in a wide range of components based on different technologies.
   - It is possible to compare the breakdown onset obtained using EM fields calculated from different EM simulators.
   - In complex devices, the simulation can be performed in the zones defined by the user, speeding up the simulation.


SPARK3D performs multipactor breakdown simulations on the designs imported from EM commercial solvers.
The specific features of the Multipactor software include:

   - Electron tracker
   - Automatic breakdown onset search
   - Custom SEY curve import
   - Optional external DC magnetic field

Multipactor example

Dielectric-loaded cavity resonator at 2.335 GHz (courtesy of Thales Alenia Space Spain).
The breakdown onset is calculated using SPARK3D combined with ANSYS® HFSS™ EM fields.

Multipactor breakdown onset computed with SPARK3D

Simulated breakdown power (mW)


Measured breakdown power (mW)


Gas discharge

SPARK3D computes the Gas discharge (Corona discharge) breakdown for the structures imported from external EM-solvers.
The specific features for Gas discharge calculation include:
   - Automatic breakdown onset
   - Representation of Paschen curves
   - Modelling with different filling gases
   - Breakdown calculation at ambient pressure

Corona discharge example

Microstrip line connected to a TNC pin with a metallic ribbon and a SMA connector touching the strip.
The breakdown onset is calculated at 1.5 GHz using SPARK3D combined with ANSYS® HFSS™ EM fields.

Gas (air) discharge breakdown onset @3mBar computed with SPARK3D

Simulated breakdown power (W)


Measured breakdown power (W)


Aurora Software and Testing, S.L.
contact@aurorasat.es , Tlf: +34 96 371 42 57, Fax: +34 96 371 42 54
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