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  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg7111] Re [mg7099] OPTICA
  • From: barnhart (Don Barnhart)
  • Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 02:57:11 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Hello Arnoud,

This is Donald Barnhart, Optica's developer. Optica is primarily a
geometric ray-tracing system. Optica is particularly good for modeling
three-dimensional ray-trace calculations for arbitrary surfaces on lenses
and mirrors. The three-dimensional graphics generated from Optica are of
extremely high quality, and are suitable for use in technical reports and
fabrication blueprints. Optica does keep track of the optical path length
and hence the phase information of rays. In this sense, Optica could be
used for some interference calculations. But Optica is not optimized to
handle diffraction and interference calculations. Optica does allow you to
model complex diffraction gratings using the grating equation in three
dimensions and geometric ray-tracing.

At the end of July, we will be introducing a new companion package to
Optica which is designed specifically for laser source calculations
(waist,divergence, beam modes, matching of pump beam with cavity modes, ...
ect). This new package, called "Laser Optica", can work either together or
independently from the original Optica package. You will then be able to
design your optics using Optica to model the geometric properties of the
system and to visualize the three dimensional layout of your the system,
and then you can use Laser Optica to optimizeon the gaussian properties of
your system.

In addition to Laser Optica, we are preparing a new version of Optica for a
similar release date, which has many new features including polarization
raytracing, raytracing through anisotropic media, and polarization
dependent diffraction gratings. MTF and lens optimization routines will
also be present in the new Optica. Finally, the new Optica version will run
considerably faster than the present Optica version (up to 100 times
faster). We are also working on several other companion packages to Optica
for future release. If you have any ideas for a new optics package, please
let me know.

Best regards,


>Return-Path: mathgroup-adm at
>Date: Wed, 7 May 1997 01:58:21 -0400 (EDT)
>From: Arnoud Augustinus <arnoud at>
To: mathgroup at
>To: mathgroup at
>Subject: [mg7111] [mg7099] OPTICA
>Organization: Stichting Internet Access Eindhoven
>I may be interested in the in the OPTICA module.
>Does anybody has experience with this module of mathematica?
>Can it handle laser sources (waist,divergence and beamquality)?
>Can it only handle geometrical optics or also diffraction and
>Arnoud Augustinus


Donald Barnhart

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Loughborough University
Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK

Tel:(011 44 1509) 223177
Fax:(011 44 1509) 223934


"Life is about being complicated as simply as possible"

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