The next version of VirtualLab Fusion User Experience Edition has been released. The complete release notes can be found here. Besides other improvements, this time we focused on new features in:
- Fully vectorial grating modeling
- Customization and user programming
With the Grating Toolbox we provide tools for the analysis and optimization of gratings for different applications. The basic modeling technique is the rigorous Fourier Modal Method (FMM). It provides the user with the near field of the grating in transmission and reflection. The new Grating Order Analyzer provides the diffraction efficiencies and the Rayleigh coefficients of all orders of interest. This is done in the form of tables but also graphically, by using different concepts of the presentation of the orders together with the quantities of concern. An overview is given in the new Use Case on the analyzer. It enables a convenient and user-friendly way to investigate diffraction gratings.
With the release of the User Experience Edition of Virtuallab Fusion the beta version of the new modeling engine Geometric Field Tracing Plus has also been released. It constitutes a fast solver of Maxwell’s equations based on a smart ray tracing algorithm. This breakthrough technology has gained an enormous interest with its release and we would like to mention two papers which have appeared in the SPIE Newsroom and the latest issue of Optik & Photonik:
This new technique is under permanent development and in the first half of 2016 the beta status will be removed and we will provide numerous application examples and use cases. Two of the examples presented in the articles you can already try yourselves: fully vectorial modeling of a high NA lens system and modeling of an interferometer for coherent and temporally partially coherent light.
Ask for your trial version.
The new generation of VirtualLab has the add-on Fusion in its name to emphasize our approach, which combines different modeling techniques in one piece of software. Consequently, VirtualLab Fusion comes with a full ray-tracing engine. From hundreds of discussions with our customers and prospective users we have concluded that ray tracing is the natural first step in most modeling and design tasks. Thus, we enable our users to build the system once and to switch between the ray tracing and physical optics modeling engines by a simple change using the engine selection button.
With the User Experience Edition of VirtualLab Fusion, we want to give you a first insight into our new ray-tracing engine:
- After you have set up your system, it is quite natural to first check the adjustment and basic light paths. A 3D ray tracing through the system gives you this quick insight. In VirtualLab Fusion, we have implemented a Ray Tracing System Analyzer, which provides you with the required 3D ray tracing results.
- In VirtualLab Fusion, we follow in all our engines the concept of a source that emits the light, components that guide and shape the light, and detectors that investigate and optimize the resulting optical function. Learn how that works in our new Ray Tracing Engine!
- Optical design by ray tracing requires parametric optimization. In VirtualLab Fusion, we provide this feature. Of course, we are aware that in the User Experience Edition we introduce just the beginning of what you need in practice. Therefore, we encourage you to send us your requests of what should be added next.
- The modeling of high NA lens systems benefits particularly from the concept of Virtuallab Fusion, since ray tracing alone is not enough to investigate its optical performance. Only physical optics modeling can reveal the vectorial effects, which are essential in such a system. But also in this type of cases VirtualLab Fusion enables ray tracing as a first step:
- Focusing lens system
- Collimating lens system
We would like to mention that ray tracing through inhomogeneous media will be available soon as well. The Applied Computational Optics Group at the Friedrich Schiller University is working closely together with us and developing some of the new techniques which are coming next.
Let us know your opinion about our ray tracing features. In particular, send us your suggestions and feature requests on ray tracing sources and detectors. We await your opinion and feature requests at user-experience(at)lighttrans.com.
We know that a powerful physical modeling concept like ray and field tracing in VirtualLab Fusion must be accompanied with tools and features that enable our customers to use the optical and numerical techniques in a convenient, efficient, and transparent way. We would like for you to enjoy your productive work with VirtualLab Fusion. Thus, we steadily add more and more tools and small tricks to optimize the user experience of VirtualLab Fusion.
In what follows we would like to turn your attention to some examples of such tools and features of VirtualLab Fusion.
- The user interface of VirtualLab Fusion will look familiar to all those users who work with other Microsoft Windows applications. The basic structure of the User Interface of VirtualLab Fusion is shown here.
- VirtualLab Fusion comes with the Ribbon-based user interface (UI) framework. An overview of the Ribbon techniqueis given alongside the handling of Data Arrays.
- Do you miss your toolbar? Then generate and customize your own toolbar for quick access to your favorite functions.
- Different users have different preferences on some of the settings. Thus, in Global Options we offer a compact overview of general settings for your customization of VirtualLab Fusion.
- Although we also offer user-defined settings for the numerical performance of VirtualLab Fusion, we have some recommendations, which you can find here.
- We enable numerous manipulations of open documents via the powerful Property Browser. It provides an overview of all the parameters of a document and enables the manipulation of many of them.
- We always listen to our customers and their suggestions and requests. An additional Parameter Overview to allow fast and easy access to all system parameters was a frequent request. We have implemented it and you can study the new feature here.
- We know that Zemax users like the quick focus feature. We have adapted that concept to our technology and provide you with a new 3D Focus Position Finder tool.
- The focus position tool works in all three dimensions or just along the z-axis. In some applications, e.g. in setups with gratings, it is crucial to find the best position for detectors and other components laterally. That can be done with the Optimize Detector Position tool.
- Diagrams are the most important way to display and illustrate modeling results. We further improved the flexibility and quality of the generation and customization of diagrams for one- and two- dimensional signals and distributions.
Not only the tools but also some small features can be sometimes helpful in practice. As an example, we would like to mention two nice tricks when you work in the Light Path Diagram (LPD):
- Would you like to disable a connection, for instance to a detector? Then just double click on the connection and the connection appears dashed, which means it is disabled. Double click again and it is enabled again.
- Would you like to remove the connection between two Light Path Elements completely? Then click on it to make it active and push the delete button. The connection disappears and it is also not listed in the Light Path Editor anymore.
Let us know your opinion about the features mentioned . In particular send us your suggestions and feature requests to make your work with VirtualLab Fusion even more enjoyable. We await your opinion and feature requests at user-experience(at)lighttrans.com.
After almost two years of hard work on the next generation of VirtualLab technology, we are happy to enter the final development period with the start of our User Experience Program. With this program, we would like to share our achievements with you and to encourage you to send us your feedback and suggestions. All your input will be taken into account in the next few months. After some months of further development VirtualLab Fusion will be finally released. Therefore, we would like to give you the unique chance to contribute to the final features with your own ideas and needs.
How to participate in the User Experience Program?
The basis of the User Experience Program is the release of VirtualLab Fusion User Experience Edition. It is now available for download for you as a regular user or as a trial version. When you install it, you enable the User Experience Program, which allows you to test plenty of new VirtualLab features and to send us your feedback.
What are the major developments you will find when starting VirtualLab Fusion?
- The entire menu structure has been changed to Ribbons. That allows a fast and intuitive access to objects and their parameters during your design workflow.
- The Field Tracing engine is renamed to Classic Field Tracing and remains otherwise unchanged. Therefore, with VirtualLab Fusion you can still do everything you could do with VirtualLab 5! All your lpd files work in VirtualLab Fusion as before when you use the Classic Field Tracing engine.
- In addition, many new features make it much easier and more efficient than before for you to carry out your work. For instance, we have added a powerful Parameter Overview to enable fast access to all the parameters of a system. A collection of other useful new features, which improve working with VirtualLab, is presented in New Features Overview.
- In addition to the Classic Field Tracing engine, we have added a full Ray Tracing engine that provides all the ray-related parameters in modeling. For us that is the basis to offer you everything you expect from ray tracing software. Thus, in the User Experience Program we ask you to specify your requests and needs for additional features of our ray-tracing engine. We definitely intend to tackle classical lens design tasks as well. Get a first insight into our ray tracing engine through a use case example.
- By replacing conventional rays by smart rays, we obtain geometric field tracing, which is a physical optics technique. We combine that with optional diffractive modeling techniques in the source and detector regions and obtain the new Geometric Field Tracing Plus engine, which is included as a Beta version in the VirtualLab Fusion User Experience Edition. We have decided to provide you with this Beta version now, since it enables several important new modeling opportunities which were not available before. One example can be found here. During the User Experience Program, we will provide you with more examples in the form of use cases and application scenarios, which will explain the power of this new engine and how to use it. The engine will be further improved and finalized until the end of the User Experience Program and the subsequent release of VirtualLab Fusion.
- The detailed release notes of VirtualLab Fusion can be found here.
Why participate in the User Experience Program?
- You can continue to do the work that you have started with VirtualLab 5. All your files will also run in VirtualLab Fusion.
- You can benefit from all the new features that simplify your current work with VirtualLab.
- You can start to explore and enjoy the new Ray Tracing and Geometric Field Tracing Plus (Beta) engines. During the User Experience Program, we will provide you with use cases and application scenarios to help you to use the new engines and to enjoy the new modeling opportunities.
- You are invited to send us your comments and suggestions and by that to influence further development directly yourself! Send us your comments and suggestions to user-experience(at)lighttrans.com.
- For some of you it might be important: VirtualLab Fusion runs also under Windows 10!
Welcome to our VirtualLab Fusion User Experience Program! Join the program by installing the new Virtuallab Fusion User Experience Edition. During the coming weeks we will provide you with more information, deeper insight, background material, use cases, applications, and much more around VirtualLab Fusion and its fantastic new features.