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Ray Optics Blog Posts

Simulating a Transparent Light Pipe to Optimize Transmittance

August 3, 2015

Imagine commuting home from work in a dark, dreary subway station. Catching a rare glimpse of natural sunlight could brighten your day and make the ride home much more bearable, but how? With light pipes, natural light can be distributed in otherwise dark areas without any electricity. In this blog post, we explore these simple and elegant devices and show how they can be analyzed in greater detail through simulation.

Modeling Laser-Material Interactions in COMSOL Multiphysics

June 22, 2015

A question that we are asked all of the time is if COMSOL Multiphysics can model laser-material interactions and heating. The answer, of course, depends on exactly what type of problem you want to solve, as different modeling techniques are appropriate for different problems. Today, we will discuss various approaches for simulating the heating of materials illuminated by laser light.

Modeling Thin Dielectric Films in Optics

May 6, 2015

Thin dielectric films are versatile tools for controlling the propagation of light. They can be used, for example, as anti-reflective coatings to reduce the amount of stray light in a system. They can also be used as low-loss reflectors or as filters to selectively transmit certain frequencies of radiation. Here, we’ll discuss some of the built-in tools that the Ray Optics Module provides for modeling optical systems with dielectric films.

Ray Tracing in Monochromators and Spectrometers

December 25, 2014

Optical devices such as monochromators and spectrometers can be used to separate polychromatic, or multicolored, light into separate colors. These devices have many applications in diverse areas that range from chemistry to astronomy. Using built-in tools in the Ray Optics Module, it is possible to model the separation of electromagnetic rays at different frequencies with a monochromator or spectrometer as well as analyze the resolution of such devices.

An Analysis of Caustic Surface Generation at the Vdara® Hotel

December 12, 2014

Among its neighboring buildings on the Las Vegas strip, the Vdara® hotel can be identified by its unique crescent-shaped design. While visually appealing, this architectural element became an area of concern as it contributed to the development of a caustic surface on the hotel’s pool deck. As a result, guests at particular locations experienced severe sunburns at certain days and times of the year. Here, we model the generation of a caustic surface in the case of the Vdara® hotel.

Modeling Ray Propagation in a Newtonian Telescope System

December 5, 2014

When the Newtonian telescope was first developed in 1668, it was recognized as the earliest operating reflecting telescope. With its low cost and simplistic design, this optical system became a favorable alternative to refracting telescopes, and the technology continues to be widely used today. Using the Ray Optics Module, we can analyze ray propagation within this type of telescope system.

New Accumulators Boost Particle and Ray Tracing Functionality

November 26, 2014

With the release of COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.0, the Particle Tracing Module now includes a series of features called Accumulators, which can be used to couple the results of a particle tracing simulation to other physics interfaces. The accumulated variables may represent any physical quantity and can be defined either within domains or on boundaries, making them extremely flexible. Here, I will explain the different types of accumulators and their applications in particle tracing and ray optics models.

Modeling Thermally Induced Focal Shift in High-Powered Laser Systems

November 18, 2014

Almost all media absorb electromagnetic radiation to some extent. In high-powered laser focusing systems, a medium such as a glass lens may absorb enough energy from the laser to heat up significantly, resulting in thermal deformation and changing the material’s refractive index. These perturbations, in turn, can change the way the laser propagates. With the Ray Optics Module, it is possible to create a fully self-consistent model of laser propagation that includes thermal and structural effects.