Simulation Software for Optimizing Optical Devices
Simulation can be used to validate optical system designs with experimental data and theory. However, traditional simulation methods for optically large structures, where the geometry is much larger than the electromagnetic wavelength, can be computationally expensive and time consuming. The Wave Optics Module, an add-on to the COMSOL Multiphysics® platform software, is an efficient choice for your optical modeling needs.
The Wave Optics Module includes a specialized beam envelope method that can be used to simulate optically large devices with far fewer computational resources than traditional methods. There are features available for modeling optical systems, such as domain polarization, which is useful for nonlinear wave propagation. The material library includes dispersion relations for the refractive indices of more than 1400 materials, including a large number of glasses used for lenses, semiconductor materials, and in other areas.
In order to optimize designs for photonic devices, integrated optics, optical waveguides, couplers, fiber optics, and more, you need to account for real-world scenarios. With the multiphysics modeling capabilities of the COMSOL® software, you can study how other physics affect optical structures; for instance, laser heating, carrier transport in semiconductors, and stress-optical effects.
Model Optically Large Problems with the Beam Envelope Method
Wave optics requires a numerical method that can efficiently model and solve complex problems. The beam envelope method analyzes the slowly varying electric field envelope for optically large simulations without relying on traditional approximations. It requires much fewer mesh elements to resolve each propagating wave when compared to traditional methods.
Did You Know? The beam envelope method is a simulation method for laser heating and accurately solves for fields and losses near the focus of the beam, when the heated domain is large in comparison to the wavelength.
The beam envelope method is an efficient and reliable choice for wave optics simulations. Equally important, the Wave Optics Module offers a traditional full-wave propagation method that is based on direct discretization of Maxwell's equations. Both methods are based on the finite element method (FEM).
What You Get with the Wave Optics Module
The Wave Optics Module provides features for specialized wave optics modeling when combined with the core functionality of the COMSOL Multiphysics® software platform.
The Wave Optics Module includes tools for modeling:
- Photonic devices
- Integrated optics
- Optical waveguides
- Fiber optics
- Photonic crystals
- Nonlinear optics
- Harmonic generation with frequency mixing
- Rod lasers
- Slab lasers
- Disk lasers
- Semiconductor lasers
- Laser heating
- Laser beam propagation
- Plasmons and plasmonic devices
- Fiber Bragg gratings
- Hexagonal gratings
- Optical scattering
- Surface scattering
- Nanoparticle scattering
- Terahertz devices
- Optical lithography
- Optical sensors
- Holographic data storage
Included with the Wave Optics Module:
- Laser heating
Accessible with additional modules:
- Optoelectronics including semiconductor physics
- Component performance changes due to structural deformation, stress, and thermal expansion
- Electro-optical (EO) effects
- Magneto-optical (MO) effects
- Stress-optical (SO) effects
- Acousto-optical (AO) effects
- Ray optics coupled with wave optics
Wave Optics Module Features and Functionality
Did You Know? A physics interface is a user interface for a specific physics area that defines equations together with settings for mesh generation, solvers, visualization, and results.
Physics-based modeling interfaces in the Wave Optics Module:
- Electromagnetic Waves, Beam Envelopes
- Electromagnetic Waves, Frequency Domain
- Electromagnetic Waves, Time Explicit
- Electromagnetic Waves, Transient
You can also access the Semiconductor Optoelectronics, Beam Envelopes and the Semiconductor Optoelectronics, Frequency Domain interfaces by adding the Semiconductor Module.
Boundary conditions in the Wave Optics Module:
- Analytical shapes
- User defined
- Periodic ports with arbitrary diffraction orders
- Scattering boundary condition
- Matched boundary condition
- Periodic condition
- Floquet, or Bloch, periodicity
- Transition boundary condition
- Field Continuity
- Perfect Electric Conductor
- Perfect Magnetic Conductor
- Impedance boundary condition
- Surface Current Density
- Surface Magnetic Current Density
- Electric Field
- Magnetic Field
Domain-level modeling tools in the Wave Optics Module:
- Far-field analysis
- Perfectly matched layers (PMLs)
- Scattered field formulation
- Gaussian beam
- Linearly polarized plane wave
- User defined
Take full control over your simulation by modifying material definitions, the governing Maxwell's equations, or boundary conditions directly within the software. This flexibility enables you to create a variety of user-defined materials, including metamaterials, with engineered properties and gyromagnetic and chiral materials. Equation-based modeling makes it possible to customize the exact inputs and outputs needed for an optical simulation without relying on assumptions or approximations.
Equation-based modeling flexibility with built-in and user-defined materials for:
- Refractive index
- Permittivity, permeability, and conductivity
- Graded and complex-valued index
- Frequency-dependent material properties
- Dispersive materials
- Frequency variables
- Wavelength variables
- Gyromagnetic materials
- Chiral materials
- Metamaterials with engineered properties
- Access to the relevant 3-by-3 tensor for anisotropic properties
- Floquet-periodic structures with higher-order diffraction modes
Did You Know? If you have prior knowledge of the wave vector or phase function everywhere in your simulation, you can dramatically reduce the number of mesh elements needed to solve your model by using the beam envelope method.
Finite element mesh types in the Wave Optics Module:
- Linear and high-order nodal-based and edge element discretizations
- Combinations of tetrahedral, prismatic, pyramidal, hexahedral, triangular, and quadrilateral elements
The Wave Optics Module includes a comprehensive selection of solvers and study types to find verified numerical solutions. Eigenfrequency, frequency-domain, wavelength-domain, and boundary mode analyses are also available.
Numerical methods in the Wave Optics Module:
- FEM-based full-wave propagation
- FEM-based beam envelope method
Study types in the Wave Optics Module:
- Mode Analysis
- Frequency or Wavelength Based
- Time Dependent
- Adaptive Frequency Sweep
Present your simulation results in a format that is clear and easy to understand. The postprocessing tools included in the Wave Optics Module enable you to compute S-parameter matrices, transmission properties, reflection properties, and more. There are also advanced tools for visualizing and postprocessing arbitrary field quantities.
Postprocessing features in the Wave Optics Module:
- Integrate, evaluate, and visualize
- Electric field components
- Magnetic field components
- Power flow
- Composite field quantities
- Power loss densities
- S-parameter matrices
- Transmission and reflection coefficients
Think of the time and energy you would be able to devote to new projects if you did not have to run repetitious simulation tests for others on your team. With the Application Builder, you can build simulation applications, or apps, that further simplify the simulation workflow by enabling you to restrict the inputs and control the outputs of your model so that your colleagues can run their own analyses.
With apps, you can easily change a design parameter, such as wavelength in a component, and test it as many times as you need without having to rerun the entire simulation. You can use apps to run your own tests more quickly or distribute apps to other members of your team to run their own tests, further freeing up your time and resources.
The process is simple:
- Transform your wave optics model into a specialized user interface (an app)
- Customize the app to your needs by selecting inputs and outputs for the app's users
- Use the COMSOL Server™ product to deploy the app to other members of your team
- Enable your team to run their own design analyses without further assistance
You can expand the capabilities of simulation throughout your team, organization, classroom, or customer or vendor base by building and using simulation apps.
Develop Photonic Devices and Optical Waveguides for the Real World
If you want the design of your optical structure or device to operate in the real world, you need to examine how other types of physics affect it. Easily couple different physical effects in one analysis with the COMSOL Multiphysics® software and the Wave Optics Module.
Many wave optics applications involve multiple physics, including heat transfer in laser heating, structural mechanics in stress optics, and semiconductor lasers, to name a few. With multiphysics simulation, you can couple all of these physical effects into the same modeling environment for comprehensive simulation research.
Is there another physics area affecting your end-product? Mix and match the Wave Optics Module with any module you want, all of which seamlessly integrate with the core COMSOL Multiphysics® software platform. This means that your modeling workflow remains the same, regardless of the application area or physics you are modeling.
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