Ray Optics Simulation

Ray Optics describes light propagation in terms of "rays" and is commonly concerned with how light is propagated, reflected, and refracted and the formation of images. The "ray" in geometric optics is an abstraction, or "instrument", which can be used to approximately model how the light will travel. Light rays are defined to propagate in a straight path as they travel in a homogeneous medium. Deviations occur at boundaries between media of different refractive index or if the index varies in space.

Ray Optics provides rules, which may depend on the color (wavelength) of the ray (or light), for propagating these rays through an optical system.

Fermat discovered a way to explain reflection and refraction as the consequence of one single principle  -  Fermat's Principle: "Light propagating between two points follows a path, or paths, for which the time taken is an extremum. 

Fermat’s principle materialized into two laws 

  • Law of reflection - the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection
  • Law of refraction - Snell’s law - formula used to describe the relationship between the angles of incidence and refraction

The path of light indicated by a ray can be plotted using Fermat’s Principle or its more useful form as Snell’s laws. This allows us to locate images of objects formed when light travels through complicated lens systems or, in the case of mirages, through a medium of spatially varying refractive index.


There are two types of Ray tracing simulation : 

  • Sequential ray-tracing  - Optical elements are intersected one at a time and light travels from surface to surface in a predefined order. It is used to model the geometrical components of optical systems, define the optical properties of objects, approximate light sources with directional rays and then predict real-world system behavior by observing the propagation of these rays through system models. 
  • Nonsequential ray-tracing allows for random and multiple encounters between rays and surfaces by a process of automatic ray-splitting. Because non-sequential ray-tracing allows rays to scatter and interact with system components as they do naturally, this method enables scientists to predict the real-world behavior of optical systems more accurately than in sequential ray-tracing.


External links 




Q&A

1. What is Ray Optics Simulation Software? 
      • The Ray Optics Simulation software model a beam of light as a group of rays that can propagate in a straight path as they travel in a homogeneous medium but also can be reflected, refracted, or absorbed at boundaries on different surfaces of different materials according to the model geometry.
    2. Which optical simulation software is using a Ray Optics Simulation engine?
      • Zemax 
      • 3DOptix
      • Synopsys 
      • Lambda Research Corporation
    3. Is there a Free/Open Ray Optics Simulation Software?
      • Yes.  3DOptix has a free online optical design software. One can access the tool via the company website at www.3doptix.com
    4. How can I register to the 3DOptix Optical Design and Simulation software?
      • Go to www.3doptix.com .  Press the “Register to the Beta” button on the website header. Press the Registration button and complete your details.
    5. What are 3DOptix design and simulation main functionalities?
      • Build an optical setup
      • Use off-the-shelf Optical elements or create customized ones
      • Choose different off-the-shelf optomechanical parts or import a customized part
      • Run Geometrical/Ray optics simulation
      • Analyze the design - measure distance, analyze the spectrum 
      • Print and Share the design
      • An Amazing 2D sketch creation tool
      • Compare Pricing

    6. What is the difference between Sequential ray-tracing and Nonsequential ray-tracing? 

      • In Sequential ray-tracing, optical elements are intersected one at a time and light travels from surface to surface in a predefined order where Nonsequential ray-tracing allows for random and multiple encounters between rays and surfaces by a process of automatic ray-splitting, ray random and multiple encounters between rays and surfaces. Nonsequential ray-tracing is more accurate to predict the real-world behavior of optical systems.


    Comparison 


    Is Ray Optics Simulation?

    Free

    Online, Cloud-based, no need to install 

    Ease of use

    Embedded Optomechanics 

    Database 

    Embedded Optics DataBase 

    3DOptix

    Yes

    Yes

    Yes

    Yes

    Yes

    Yes

    Zemax

    Yes

    No

    No

    No

    No

    Yes

    Lumerical

    No

    No

    No

    No

    No

    No

    Comsol

    No

    No

    No

    No

    No

    No

    Lambda Research Corporation

    Yes

    No

    No

    No

    No

    No