Austria • Joanneum Research (JOR)

Equipment: Lumerical / FDTD Solutions
Technique: Optical Simulation with the Finite Difference Time Domain Method 
Acquisition year: 2011 / updated to the current version
Responsible: Claude Leiner /  

Description: FDTD is a numerical analysis technique used for modelling computational electrodynamics. The simulation area is discretized into so called Yee cells; the partial differential form of the time-dependent Maxwell’s equations are discretized using central-difference approximations to the space and time partial derivatives. The resulting finite-difference equations are solved in a leapfrog manner. 


  • Numerical solution of the Maxwell´s equations allows the simulation of wave optical effects of optical components in contrast to purely linear optics based simulation techniques like classical ray-tracing.
  • Allowing the simulation of a whole spectrum in one simulation run in contrast to simulations with single wavelengths.
  • 3D CAD Environment and parameterizable simulation objects allow for rapid model iterations, for optimizing optical components.
  • Use of multi-coefficient models for accurate material modelling over large wavelength ranges.
  • Powerful post-processing tools included for e.g. the calculation of far-field projections, bidirectional scattering distribution function generation, Q-factor analysis, etc. 
  • Allows the simulation of advanced optical components like e.g. DOEs, HOEs, Metamaterials, Plasmonic structures. However, the maximal volume of the simulation area is limited to several 100 of µm³, depending on the computational resources.  

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