Software for Optical Design, Illumination, Thin-Films

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Links on Optical Design and Engineering

The purpose of this site is to provide a comprehensive list of links related to optics and optical simulation in general. Topics include optical design, optical engineering, illumination, Laser, optical materials, thin film coatings, and many more subjects needed to build and analyze complex optical systems.

The links are ordered alphabetically by product for each category and do not indicate ranking. We hope you find this list both informative and useful. Please e-mail suggestions and corrections to . See also our legal notice and our web policy.

Lens Design Software Testing Organizations
Thin Film Design Software Illumination, Straylight Standards
Laser Design and Integrated Optics Software Manufacturing Periodicals
Glass Manufacturers, Optical Materials Engineering Optical Cements and Adhesives
Other useful links    

Lens Design Software:

ABCD Gaussian beam propagation software.
Aberrator Software for simulation of star-test images.
ADOS Optical design, analysis and optimization program. Also offers global optimization.
ASAP System analysis program from Breault Research Organization, Inc. for imaging and illumination applications.
ATMOS Amateur Telescope Maker Optical Software
Beam II, III, IV Raytracing Software from Stellar Software. Available in three levels for Windows PC and Power Mac.
Code V Comprehensive optical design software by "Synopsis"
Comsol Multiphysics COMSOL MultiphysicsTM: Comprehensive multiphysics simulation software for simulation and analysis of a wide range of physics phenomena, including ray optics and wave optics. Optics simulation is easily coupled with other physics, such as heat transfer and structural mechanics, in a Structural-Thermal- Optical-Performance (STOP) analysis.
dbOptic Optical design database software
GSOLVER Analysis of diffraction gratings of arbitrary groove profiles.
KDP-2 Free optical design program from Jim Klein.
Lens Forge Lens Design Program for Mac OS X
LensVIEW A CD-ROM database with more than 30000 design examples from US patent literature and Japanese patent literature.
LensLab Entry-Level Ray-Tracing Package for Mathematica
Lightmachinery Some handy optical calculations, require the use of Microsoft Internet Explorer.
LightTools Virtual prototyping of optical and illumination systems by "Optical Research Associates"
Looking Glass A geometric optics construction set. Interactive physics package that helps students visualize and understand the effects of optical components on light rays.
MODAS "Modern Optical Design and Analysis Software", free crippled version available.
OpTaliX Comprehensive Software for optical design, thin film coatings and illumination.
OptisWorks Optical simulation software integrated in mechanical CAD software (SolidWorks).
Optics Lab Optical ray tracing software by Science Lab Software
OPTEC "Paraxia" lens design and raytrace program.
Optica Optical design application for Mathematica from Wolfram Research. Note that this package is no longer distributed by Wolfram Research. See Optica Software instead.
Opus Optical analysis software.
OSLO Comprehensive optical design and analysis software.
PC Grate Analysis of multi-layer diffraction gratings of various groove profiles.
ReflectorCAD Design software for segmented reflectors by Breault Reasearch Organization.
reTORT reTORT is a geometric-optics ray tracer for arbitrary 3D geometries, including GRINs and metasurfaces.
SYNOPSIS Comprehensive lens design and analysis package from Optical System Design, Inc.
Virtual Lab Physical optics analysis and design of lens systems, laser systems, laser cavities, diffractive optical elements and diffraction gratings.
VOB Virtual Optical Bench by Metec, Inc. Also available from Dr.V.Schmidt GmbH
WinLens Optical design software including several modules: Tolerancer, Glass Manager, Pre-Designer, etc. Video tutorials about WinLens are found here.
ZEMAX Optical design and analysis software by Focus Software Inc.

Laser Design and Integrated Optics Software:

ASLD Laser simulation and solid-state resonator design software.
FemtoSoft Software for implementing Frequency-Resolved Optical Gating, a technique for measuring the time-dependent intensity and phase of a femtosecond laser pulse.
FreeBPM Free beam propagation (BPM) software.
Fresnel Simulation and analysis of laser beam propagation.
GLAD Physical Optics and Laser Analysis Software.
Hesotar Virtual Nonlinear Optics Workbook (vNOW). The software enables students and scientists to perform numerical experiments in nonlinear optics of two- or multi-level atoms.
LASCAD Multiphysics simulation to optimize design of laser resonators. Includes thermal and structural finite element analysis of thermal effects in laser crystals, ABCD Gaussian beam propagation, dynamic analysis of multimode and Q-switched operation, 3D wave optics beam propagation code.
LightPipes Beam propagation toolbox for MatLab and MathCad.
Lumerical Offers 2D/3D single-computer and parallel FDTD and an optical mode solver that solves arbitrary waveguide geometries including photonic crystal fiber.
Optiwave Software for integrated and fiber optics. OptiFDTD is a powerful, highly integrated, and user friendly CAD environment that enables the design and simulation of advanced passive and non-linear photonic components. OptiBPM is Waveguide Optics Design Software.
Oxalis Simulation Software in optics and lasers (SimCa, CommodPro, SPIR, Thermopt).
Paraxia Laser system design.
Photon Design Photonics software (OmniSim, FIMMPROP, CrystalWave, PICWave) for active and passive component and circuit design.
SimCa Gaussian beam propagation along optical systems and laser cavities.
UNIGIT Universal rigorous grating solver based on the RCWA and the Rayleigh-Fourier method.
Virtual Lab Physical optics analysis and design of lens systems, laser systems, laser cavities, diffractive optical elements and diffraction gratings.
VPIphotonics Active and passive component, system and link engineering tools. Also provides software modules to design, verify and evaluate active and passive components, fiber amplifiers, DWDM transmission systems and broadband access networks.
WinLase Laser design and gaussian beam propagation.

Thin Film Design Software:

Essential Macleod Thin film design and analysis software.
Film Wizard Software for optimization and synthesis of optical thin film coatings. Other products are Film Tec 2000, Film Monitor, Film Ellipse.
FilmStar A suite of Windows programs for designing, manufacturing and measuring optical thin film coatings. There is also a free version.
FreeSnell Freeware program to compute optical properties of multilayer thin-film coatings.
OptiLayer Software for optical coating design, characterization and manufacturing.
SemiconSoft TFCompanion software, thin-film data analysis for ellipsometry, reflectance and transmittance measurements.
TFCalc Software for designing and manufacturing optical thin film coatings.

Illumination and Straylight Software:

Apilux O++ Optical design software dedicated to photometric applications, optical design and multi-channel systems.
ASAP System analysis program from Breault Research Organization, Inc. for imaging and illumination applications.
FRED Optical Engineering Software for complex, "real world" optical problems.
OptiCAD Non-sequential illumination, optical analysis and visualization program.
Optis-Works SolidWorks CAD integrated optical software
Radiant Imaging Light source characterization, illumination design software.
MIE Scattering Interactive website for calculating MIE scattering.
TracePro Performance modeling of optical systems and illumination systems.

Testing Software:

AtmosFringe Interferogram Analysis Software. This product appears to be unsupported since 2008.
Durango Interferometry software including data acquisition, analysis, evaluation, import/export and simulation of interferometric data.
Focus Curve fitting software to facilitate spectroscopic modelling and data exchange.
Optikos MTF testing.


Bentec Services Ltd. Aspheric optical design, mould tool inserts, polymer optics manufacturing and multiplexed, hyperaspherical surfaces.
DOE-CAD Software for design, mask generation and performance modeling of diffractive optical elements.

Glass Manufacturers, Optical Materials:

Almaz Optics Distributor of russian optics and optical materials. The A to Z of Materials. On-Line materials information site, supplier and expert directory.
Cargille Optical liquids
Cerac Coating materials
Chinese Glasses (CDGM) Chengdu Guanming Optoelectronic Information Material Co. Ltd., USA-website
Cradley-Crystals Synthetic single- and polycrystal products.
Crystran Manufacturer of IR & UV optical materials.
CVD Materials CVD Silicon Carbide and Infrared Materials.
EFONGA European Forum on New Glass Applications (EFONGA).
Gradient Lens Gradient Lens Corp. (GLC), USA, Manufacturer of EndogrinTM radial gradients.
Grinext Gradient index optics for imaging and communications, Russia.
Grintech Gradient index microoptics for telecom, endoscopy, etc.
Hikari Precision optical glass manufacturer, Japan
Hoya Precision optical glass manufacturer, Japan
Ioffe Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute, Semiconductor materials characterization and properties.
Kruschwitz Material for optical thin films and interference coatings.
LightPath Manufacturer of GradiumTM axial gradient index glass.
MakeTech Non-metallic single and poly crystal materials.
Molecular Technology Single crystals, materials and components.
OHARA Manufacturer of precision optical glass. If your browser does not support Flash, try (in German).
Pilkington Optical Glass manufacturer.
Schott Schott Glass, Germany
SPI Supplies Manufacturer and distributor of sample preparation equipment and supplies for electron and light microscope laboratories.
Sumita Sumita Glass Company, Japan

Optical Cements and Adhesives:

Delo DELO industrial adhesives.
Dymax High performance adhesives and light curing equipment.
Intertronics Fiber optics and two-part optical epoxies.
Norland Optical adhesives
Nye Optical Products Index matching fluids and gels.
Summers Optical Optical cements and adhesives.


Engineering Reference Practical engineering data and tools for medical device professionals.
Precision-Optical Engineering Design, development, production and testing of optical components for use in the visible and infrared regions of the spectrum.

Periodicals, Publications:

Photonics Spectra
Design News
Fiber Optics Online
Laser Focus World Optoelectronics and laser technology.
Lasers and Optronics
Lightwave Fiber-optic communications technology and application worldwide
Photonics Online
Photonics Spectra
OE Reports
OE Magazine Monthly publication of SPIE, International society for optical engineering.


NIST Nat'l Inst. of Standards and Technology
BIPM International Bureau of Weights and Measures
BSI Britisch Standards Institution
DIN Deutsches Institut f. Normung.
ISO International Standards Organization
ANSI American Nat'l Standards Institute
CIE International Commission on Illumination
CORM Council of Optical Radiation Measurements
IESNA Illumination Engineering Society of North America
OEOSC Optics and Electro-Optics Standards Council Overview on optical standards by, the online photonics resource.

Organizations, Associations:

OSA Optical Society of America
APOMA American Precision Optics Manufacturers Association
ASPE American Society for Precision Engineering
NES/OSA New England Section of the OSA
Photonics Resource Center The Photonics Resource Center.
SPIE International Society for Optical Engineering
DGaO Deutsche Gesellschaft für angewandte Optik
EOS European Optical Society

Other useful links:

Cyber Ray CyberRayTM, three dimensional ray tracing package for both optical and charged particle beams.
Computational Optics Group Computational Optics Group, IFH, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
Barnard Microsystems Microwave circuit design software and design
3D Lens Fresnel lenses and polarizers.
Dallas Lasik Eye Surgery Lasik and HD-Lasik Provider.
Don Barron Converts Zemax optical designs to POVRAY and shows photorealistic renderings of optical designs. A similar feature is found in OpTaliX
Function Parser Module Function Parser by Stuart Midgley (available in Fortran source code)
IODC Lens design problem summary (1998 International Optical Design Conference, Kona, Hawaii)
GratingLab Diffraction grating handbook 5th Ed. by Christopher Palmer
Lasersale Laser products including laser diodes, sights, green laser pointers, and aiming modules.
Machine Vision Systems An overview of machine vision systems manufacturers.
MicroPhotonic Recruiters Technical recruiting firm exclusively committed to to the Optical Industry. Specialized in locating and qualifying photonic talents in the market.
Minerals Spectroscopy Information about color in minerals, access to data on mineral absorption spectra.
Optics 2001 Comprehensive Library on all subjects related to optics
Optics Net Optics directory
OpticsNotes An index of optics & photonics tutorials, references and resources.
SpieWeb Discussion forums hosted by SPIE.
sci.optics Optics newsgroup.
TICRA Electromagnetic analysis of reflector Antenna and Scatterers.

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