ECAD Import Module

Import ECAD Files into COMSOL Multiphysics® with the ECAD Import Module

ECAD Import Module

The layout of a planar transformer has been imported from an ECAD file and converted to a 3D geometry model. Shown is the electric potential on its surface.

Simulating Electronics Components

The development of MEMS devices, integrated circuits (ICs or chips), and printed circuit boards (PCBs) requires greater and greater accuracy in predicting device characteristics and performance, even before manufacturing a prototype. Ever diminishing component sizes demand simulations that incorporate the interactions of several physical phenomena. Using the ECAD Import Module, you can import your ECAD files into COMSOL Multiphysics and convert the 2D layouts into 3D geometry that is suitable for simulation. This opens up a world of simulations, including, among other applications, the electromagnetic, thermal, and structural behavior of these components and devices.

Importing ECAD Formats into COMSOL Multiphysics

The formats for transferring ECAD data contain the layouts of each layer that makes up a device, whether this is a chip or PCB. The ECAD Import Module will recognize the geometrical shapes on these layouts and construct plane geometry objects that can be extruded according to the layer stack-up information found in the file or provided during import. For MEMS and IC simulation needs, the ECAD Import Module supports the GDSII format. For developing PCBs, the IPC-2581 and ODB++.

Treating Imported ECAD Files

Depending on the file format, the import functionality provides options for configuring the cells or nets that should be used for geometry construction. You can also exclude layers, edit layer thicknesses and elevations, decide how bond wires should be represented in the final geometry, and even fine-tune the parameters for arc recognition. For a faster set-up of the import process, it is possible to load the layer configuration information from a text file. To further shorten the time spent on setting up simulations, you can configure the import to automatically create selections for each layer. These selections are then available when you are assigning physics settings to domains and boundaries.

The 3D geometry objects constructed from the ECAD layouts can be further modified using available features in COMSOL Multiphysics. When combined with the CAD Import Module, Design Module, or one of the LiveLink™ products, the 3D geometry can be exported to the IGES, STEP, ACIS® or Parasolid® file formats for use in other software.

Parasolid is a registered trademarks of Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and in other countries. ACIS is a registered trademark of Spatial Corporation.

Support for implementation of the ODB++ Format was provided by Mentor Graphics Corporation pursuant to the ODB++ Solutions Development Partnership General Terms and Conditions (

Product Features

  • Import integrated circuit (IC) and printed circuit board (PCB) designs for analysis with COMSOL Multiphysics
  • Turn off the import of selected layers
  • Layer thickness can be either read from file, or specified, for automatic extrusion of layers during import
  • Automatically recognize arcs and straight lines in imported GDS layouts
  • Select cells to import from GDS files
  • Turn off the import of text objects from
    IPC-2581 and ODB++ files
  • Automatically avoid the import of objects outside the board boundaries when importing IPC-2581 and ODB++ files
  • Automatically delete interior edges during import
  • Generate layer selections to use in subsequent geometry operations and for model setup
  • Generate selections for model setup based on the electrical nets in the ODB++ and IPC-2581 files

Supported Formats for File Import

File Format Extension Import Export
IPC-2581 .cvg, .xml Yes No
GDSII .gds Yes No
ODB++ .zip, .tar, .tgz, .tar.gz Yes No

Importing and Meshing a PCB Geometry from an ODB++ Archive

Every business and every simulation need is different.

In order to fully evaluate whether or not the COMSOL Multiphysics® software will meet your requirements, you need to contact us. By talking to one of our sales representatives, you will get personalized recommendations and fully documented examples to help you get the most out of your evaluation and guide you to choose the best license option to suit your needs.

Just click on the "Contact COMSOL" button, fill in your contact details and any specific comments or questions, and submit. You will receive a response from a sales representative within one business day.

Next Step

Request a Software Demonstration