Optical and Photonic Solutions Blog


LightTools Features Drive Efficient Illumination Optics Design

LightTools celebrates its 27th anniversary on January 26, 2022. Since its initial launch, we have continually enhanced its capabilities, providing features and workflows that help designers bring illumination optics to market faster and more efficiently. In this blog article, we’ll highlight a few recent LightTools enhancements that meet the evolving requirements of illumination system design.

LightTools SOLIDWORKS Link Module

The LightTools SOLIDWORKS Link Module provides bidirectional connectivity between these two tools for a streamlined CAD workflow. Efficiency enhancements increase control and ease of use for optomechanical modeling. Designers will notice a faster model setup experience, as well as the ability to control source placement and assign optical properties within SOLIDWORKS.

Laser Source and Polarization Modeling

LightTools design capabilities meet demanding requirements for LiDAR systems, AR/VR headsets, display technologies, and biomedical instruments. Designers can introduce laser sources with Gaussian and Super Gaussian light distributions using spatial and angular apodization.

LightTools also provides capabilities for modeling and analyzing polarizing elements with biaxial birefringent materials. Advanced charts allow designers to easily assess the polarization state and orientation and identify how to maximize flux. Polarization modeling tools are included in the LightTools Advanced Physics Module, which provides flexible programming extensions to develop custom optical parts and cutting-edge illumination subsystems.

LightTools Distributed Simulation Module

The LightTools Distributed Simulation Module can accelerate the simulation speed of large, computation-intensive ray trace processes over a network of computers. The module, which is useful for boosting ray trace speeds for stray light and luminance analyses, supports forward and backward simulations.

Stray Light Analysis

LightTools has comprehensive capabilities to help optical engineers pinpoint and correct stray light issues during product design. See how LightTools saves designers time and money with stray light analysis in this blog post.

Recent enhancements to the LightTools stray light analysis toolkit include:

  • Intensified ray tracing – LightTools traces up to one trillion rays in an illumination system, lifting the sampling limits for virtually all Monte Carlo simulations. This expanded ray trace limit allows designers to achieve extremely accurate results for stray light analysis and luminance calculations.
  • Aim area capabilities for measured bidirectional scattering distribution function (BSDF) surfaces – BSDF data is often used to provide high-accuracy simulations of scattering surface characteristics. The aim area feature allows designers to examine selected portions of a surface’s scatter distribution, and this can significantly improve stray light analysis efficiency, particularly for illumination optics used in AR/VR/MR devices, heads-up displays, and autonomous vehicles.
Backlight Pattern Optimization

LightTools offers optimization tools devised specifically to solve the unique requirements of illumination system design. Included in this solution is the LightTools Backlight Pattern Optimization utility, which allows designers to optimize performance for display systems with curved panel shapes – to conform to a dashboard, rotate about a user’s field of view, and have custom shapes, for example – all with high spatial uniformity.

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