LightTools 6.2

Optical Research Associates (ORA) has released LightTools 6.2, which is the latest version of its illumination design and analysis software with new features to aid the design of a wide variety of devices, ranging from LEDs to displays and luminaires. 

The introduction of a backward ray tracing capability can dramatically reduce the time needed to design and analyse systems such as sources, luminaires, and projectors. This important capability provides a practical solution for analysing illuminance, intensity, and colour at a particular location, or in a particular direction, rather than taking unnecessary time to analyse the entire pattern. This approach saves time by tracing far fewer rays than a forward ray trace would require to reach the same level of accuracy. 

In addition, the new LightTools SolidWorks Link Module can reduce design cycle time by enabling users to build 3D models in SolidWorks and import them into LightTools, where they can assign optical properties, optimise the design, and update the SolidWorks model. This capability provides full interoperability, so changes made in one program are updated in the other. LightTools 6.2 also improves modelling of white light LEDs, now widely used in lighting and displays, with the added ability to specify materials with multiple phosphor particles, along with their size and density distributions. 

For luminaire designers, a new feature allows intensity data to be collected as a set of variable-width slices over a full sphere. With this approach, all collection bins in a given slice have the same size, which prevents statistical noise issues near the polar regions of the intensity distribution. In addition, data collection in this format enables far-field intensity data exchange with other lighting design software through the widely supported IES and LDT data formats.  LightTools' enhanced Backlight Pattern Optimisation utility also improves the design of keypads, dashboards and instrument panels. Designers can use a bitmap image of the desired illumination pattern as a merit function target during optimisation, which allows portions of a light guide to be selectively illuminated.