VSim for Basic Physics

Excellent for studying basic phenomena in electromagnetics and plasma physics.

Simulate Basic Electromagnetics, Electrostatics, and Plasma Physics

With VSim for Basic Physics (VSimBase), users can perform simulations in slab geometries to discover how electromagnetic and plasma waves propagate, learn how sheaths form in plasmas, and solve simple electrostatics problems.  VSimBase provides the ability to determine the dispersion relations of plasma waves including Langmuir oscillations, cyclotron oscillations, Bernstein modes, and upper-hybrid modes. VSimBase can be used to study instability growth, saturation, and other collisionless plasma relaxation processes.

Easily solve for electrostatic potentials with Dirichlet or Neumann boundary conditions on simulation boundaries. Quickly set up electromagnetics problems using conducting boundaries and current sources.


VSim makes use of the powerful and fast finite-difference technology and the particle-in-cell (PIC) method, which enables you to study kinetic phenomena in plasmas that have arbitrary particle velocity distributions. VSimBase also has basic fluid dynamics capabilities, based on the finite-volume method. VSim implements distributed-memory (MPI) parallelism to enable you to solve any size problem, including the most electromagnetically large. Whether you run VSim on a laptop, a computing cluster, or a supercomputer, your models will run rapidly using algorithms designed for the exacting demands of high performance computing systems.

Examples Make VSim Easy to Learn and Reduce Time to Results

With its Visual Setup capabilities, the VSimComposer interface enables the user to set up physics problems quickly and easily. Through the point-and-click interface, select solvers, set boundary conditions, and add particles. Specify the functional form of incoming waves in both space and time. As with all other VSim simulation packages, both data analysis and visualization functionality are integrated into VSim for Basic Physics. VSimBase provides 17 ready-made simulation examples for problems such as radiation from a dipole, launching of plasma waves, and solving for the electrostatic potential for a given charge distribution.

Basic Physics Package Specifications

• Physics Features      • Software Features      • Product Advantages
     • Examples List      • Upgrade Path     


I have found VSim to be an invaluable tool in both research and teaching. VSim allows visualization of waveguide propagation modes and wave scattering for my students in Advanced Electromagnetic Fields, and it allows my students in Fundamentals and Applications of Plasmas to explore a wide range of phenomena from basic plasma oscillations and sheath formation to the workings of devices like magnetrons and wave propagation in plasmas. I highly recommend VSim for instruction in electrical engineering or physics at the advanced undergraduate and graduate levels.

—Prof. Mark Golkowski, Electrical Engineering, University of Colorado, Denver


VSim is a flexible, multiplatform, software tool for running computationally intensive electromagnetic, electrostatic, and plasma simulations. VSim easily installs and runs on a variety of systems, including Windows, MacOS, and Linux platforms. Switching between 1, 2, and 3 dimensions is simple with VSim. Work easily in the required dimensionality, whether 1D for the basics, 2D to capture transverse effects, or fully 3D to ensure all geometric effects are included. Design your simulation using a laptop and run it there, or run the simulation on a cluster.

Easy to Upgrade

VSimBase can be used stand-alone or in combination with one or more other specialty VSim packages. Start with VSimBase to model classical physics. Then when you are ready to simulate more advanced physics problems, add the VSim package that does what you need. If you want to simulate electromagnetics in the presence of metallic and dielectric shapes, upgrade to VSim for Electromagnetics. To model RF power systems, add VSim for Microwave Devices. When you are ready to design plasma acceleration experiments, VSim for Plasma Acceleration can provide fast solutions. For plasma discharges, VSim for Plasma Discharges is available to simultaneously simulate kinetic and collisional effects in plasma.

As your need for computational power expands, add more compute cores to your license.

Physics Features

  • Explicit electromagnetics
  • Electromagnetics with conducting wall
  • Current sources
  • Charge densities
  • Auxiliary differential equations
  • Ingoing ports
  • Outgoing ports
  • Electrostatics—Dirichlet or Neumann boundary conditions
  • Magnetostatics—including nonlinear and anisotropic
  • Charged particles
  • Variably weighted particles
  • Self-consistent charged particles, both relativistic and non relativistic
  • Tagged particles for particle tracking
  • Depositors and interpolators, area weighting and 1st order
  • Absorbing and reflecting particle boundaries
  • Particle loaders and basic emitters
Surface Interactions
  • Conducting slab boundaries
  • Absorbing slab boundaries
  • Emitting slab boundaries
  • Slab electrostatic simulation (ES)
  • Slab electromagnetic simulation (EM)
  • Slab isotropic dielectrics
  • Cylindrical coordinates
  • Spatially varying grid
  • Moving Window
  • Particle binning
  • Spectrograph analysis
  • Multiple data analyzers, such as particle binning
  • Customizable Python scripts

Software Features

  • 1D, 2D, 3D simulations
  • 1D, 2D, 3D visualization
  • Periodic boundaries
  • Histories: time series data
  • Prescribed fields: functional, user defined, or imported
  • Open source data format with visualization annotations
  • User-customizable data analyzers
  • Menu-driven setup
  • Distributed memory parallelism










  • Accurate Electromagnetics and Plasma Physics capabilities for:
    • EM fields
    • Relativistic particles
    • Periodic and slab perfect conductor boundary conditions for fields
    • Slab absorbers for particles
  • Excellent educational tool
  • Powerful post-processing capabilities
  • Economical: Use VSimBase as a standalone simulation tool or add advanced physics features as needed by including other VSim packages
  • Easy learning curve: Build your own simulations using built-in examples as a starting point
  • Scales to solve your largest problems. Accurate parallel decomposition for fast solutions

Example Simulations Included

Examples Using Visual Setup

Visual Setup Examples are ready to run and easy to use.  Running a Visual Setup Example and then customizing the settings for your own simulation is the fastest way to learn VSim.

Examples Using Text Setup

Code your simulation, then run it.  Text Setup Examples demonstrate how to format a simulation input file using code syntax. If you like the level of control available through designing your simulation using VSim code blocks and Python, use a Text Setup file as the basis for your simulation project.


Questions? Contact us.













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