OptoNet Summer Course

Fast Physical Optics Modeling and Design

04 – 08 July 2022
09:00 – 16:30 (CEST)
SCALA Panoramabankett, Leutragraben 1, 07743 Jena, Germany
Book here

Duration and Intended Audience:

  • Introduction: This two-day course provides an overview of VirtualLab Fusion’s fast physical optics usage and technology, and shows how to apply said technology to a series of examples from a varied range of applications. Beginner to intermediate level.
  • Gratings: This more advanced three-day course focuses on gratings, starting with the many tools available in VirtualLab Fusion to configure very different types of gratings as well as characterize and optimize gratings as standalone components (including metagratings); we then move on to include those gratings in more complex systems, where the gratings will be accompanied by other optical components. In the following part, as a notable application example, we devote some time to the modeling and design of lightguide devices with grating couplers for augmented and mixed reality applications. Advanced level.  
  • Both: The content of the courses has been designed so that it is possible to register for either of them separately, or to book both of them together.  
  • Audience: This course is designed for optical scientists, engineers, designers with varying levels of expertise with VirtualLab Fusion in mind, starting from total beginners. 

Technical Environment:

  • Please bring your own notebook, the required software will be provided by the organizer.


The demand for physical optics simulation technology has grown distinctly to the point where, for many applications in modern optics, it simply cannot be avoided. Switching to a physical optics model only in those parts of the system where ray tracing is not expected to be an accurate option risks missing important information about the system, mainly due to the mutually incompatible mathematical models – rays and electromagnetic fields. Furthermore physical-optical effects may also be relevant in other parts of the system were they were in principle not expected. This is the justification behind the proposal for a ›fast physical optics‹ approach: a physical optics technique which includes a generalization of ray tracing fully embedded inside the overarching physical optics framework, and which, consequently, provides physical optics simulation results just as fast as ray tracing.

In the OptoNet Summer Course Fast Physical Optics Modeling and Design, we will equip you with the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge to make the most of your work with the fast physical optics software VirtualLab Fusion!

Physical optics simulation tools & technology are a must-have for the analysis and design of modern systems. In this course we will be employing the commercial fast physical optics modeling and design software VirtualLab Fusion to investigate a series of optical systems taken from a broad range of fields of application. We will use these examples to introduce the most important features and details of the underlying technology of the software, from a very general perspective in the first two introductory days, and with a focus on gratings as just one part of larger, more complex optical systems in the advanced course covering the last three days. Some of the topics you can expect to hear about: interferometry, lens systems, anisotropy, fiber coupling, ultrashort pulses, meta gratings, augmented and mixed reality lightguides, and more!


Monday, 04 July 2022 | Introduction I – IV | Welcome Dinner

08:30 – 09:00 Welcome & registration
09:00 – 10:30 Part I

  • Why physical optics? The philosophy behind VirtualLab Fusion.
  • Field tracing enables fast physical optics.
  • The importance of a consistent electromagnetic treatment of light.
  • Analysis of vectorial effects in high-NA focusing lens system.

10:45 – 12:15 Part II

  • Connecting field solvers as the only way to tackle complex optical systems.
  • Abbe’s image resolution experiment as an example that combines lenses and gratings.
  • Demonstration of working principle of confocal scanning microscopy.
  • Overview of current catalog of electromagnetic field solvers in VirtualLab Fusion.
  • Birefringence in calcite block. Complex polarization effects in uniaxial crystals. Conical refraction in biaxial crystals.

12:15 – 13:15 Lunch

13:15 –  14:45 Part III

  • Seeking pointwise operators: taking advantage of the space and k domains.
  • The importance of the Fourier transform and its role in the consideration of diffraction.
  • Diffraction integrals. The Poisson spot.
  • Modeling levels. Switching diffraction on and off.
  • Modeling of pinhole in system with low Fresnel number.
  • Foucault’s knife-edge experiment.

15:00 – 16:30 Part IV

  • Non-sequential simulations. The channel concept. Master channels.
  • Modeling of etalon.
  • Examination of sodium D lines with Fabry-Perot etalon.
  • Investigation of ghost image effects in collimation system.

19:30 Welcome dinner

Tuesday, 05 July 2022 | Introduction V – VIII

09:00 – 10:30 Part V

  • Grating order channels.
  • Lateral channels – lightguides and microlens arrays.
  • Simulation of light propagation behind microlens array.
  • Simulation of a Shack-Hartmann sensor.

10:45 – 12:15 Part VI

  • The light path finder. Advanced positioning.
  • Experiments with Mach-Zehnder interferometer – complementary interference pattern caused by prism beam splitter; observation of the Gouy phase shift, generation of spatially varying polarization.

12:15 – 13:15 Lunch

13:15 – 14:45 Part VII

  • Advanced source modeling – the source mode concept.
  • Optical topography scanning with Michelson interferometer. Partial temporal coherence.
  • Young’s double-slit experiment with extended source.
  • Propagation of ultrashort pulse through high-NA lens.
  • Simulation of Talbot effect with unpolarized light.
  • Modeling of VCSELs and VCSEL arrays.

15:00 – 16:30 Part VIII

  • Convenience tools. Parametric optimization.
  • Analysis and optimization of fiber-coupling set-up.
  • Q & A.

Wednesday, 06 July 2022 | Gratings I – IV

09:00 – 10:30 Part I

  • Grating configuration and modeling.
  • Grating structure specification.
  • Electromagnetic field solvers for gratings in VirtualLab Fusion (Thin Element Approximation, TEA, and Fourier Modal Method/Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis, FMM/RCWA).
  • Convenience tools for grating analysis.

10:45 – 12:15 Part II

  • Rigorous modeling examples.
  • Blazed grating for spectral separation.
  • Ultrasparse dielectric nano-wire grid polarizers.
  • Parameter sweeping tool.

12:15 – 13:15 Lunch

13:15 – 14:45 Part III

  • More examples of rigorous modeling.
  • Simulation and analysis of slanted gratings with varying parameters.
  • Volume holographic gratings and their sensitivity.
  • Diffraction property of passive parity-time (PT) grating.
  • Analysis of CMOS sensor with microlens array.

15:00 – 16:30 Part IV

  • Grating within optical systems.
  • Angular-filter volume grating for higher diffraction order suppression.
  • Resonant waveguide grating and its angular/spectral properties.
  • Using gratings as test objects in imaging systems.

Thursday, 07 July 2022 | Gratings V – VIII

09:00 – 10:30 Part V

  • Grating design/optimization.
  • Optimization of slanted grating for waveguide coupling.
  • Parametric optimization tool.

10:45 – 12:15 Part VI

  • More grating design and optimization.
  • Design of polarization-independent high-efficiency gratings.
  • Design of antireflection moth-eye structures.

12:15 – 13:15 Lunch

13:15- 14:45 Part VII

  • Metagratings.
  • Rigorous analysis of nanopillars as metasurface building blocks.
  • Design of a blazed metagrating.

15:00 – 16:30 Part VIII

  • Metagratings.
  • Beam-splitting metagrating design.
  • IFTA for phase profile generation.

Friday, 08 July 2022 | Gratings IX – XII

09:00 – 10:30 Part IX

  • Configuration of lightguide devices for augmented and mixed reality applications with grating couplers.
  • Idealized versus real gratings.

10:45 – 12:15 Part X

  • Modeling of different lightguide geometries.
  • K‑layout representation.
  • Simulation of different physical optics effects in lightguides (polarization, coherence, diffraction…)

12:15 – 13:15 Lunch

13:15 – 14:45 Part XI

  • Systematic design tools for lightguide devices and their grating regions.
  • Smooth modulation of grating parameters and subsequent optimization.
  • Comparison with parametric optimization of segmented regions.

15:00 – 16:30 Part XII

  • General Q & A.

16:30 – 17:00 Feedback & Farewell


Optical Engineering Team & President

The course will be taught by experts of the Optical Engineering team at LightTrans. Their daily work in direct contact with users of VirtualLab Fusion from all over the world means that they do not only have in-depth knowledge of the software and how it works, but also, crucially, of how best to put it to use in order to satisfy the requirements of a wide range of nowadays demanded fields of application.

As a special highlight, the President and internationally renowned expert Prof. Dr. Frank Wyrowski (Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena) will give an introduction to the topic and current developments in the field of fast physical optics on the first day of the training.

Contact & Trial

LightTrans GmbH

Phone +49.3641.53129-50

info (at)

VirtualLab Fusion

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