Optical Research Associates has introduced its LightTools 7.0 software, the latest release of its illumination design and analysis software. LightTools 7.0 supports Windows 7 and delivers expanded capabilities for both model construction and system analysis. For example, complex light source models can now be created instantly from any geometric object, including those generated in LightTools using Boolean operations on basic shapes, or imported from other CAD software, such as SolidWorks, using the LightTools SolidWorks Link Module. The ability to make any object a source provides an appreciable advantage to designers of infrared imaging systems in particular.
LightTools’ ray tracing and analysis functionality has been extended and improved, providing backward ray tracing for illuminance, intensity, and spatial and angular luminance meshes to deliver substantially faster and more efficient simulations for many models. A new 'smart output' smoothing algorithm reduces statistical noise in these calculations, enabling analysis with higher accuracy and greater speed that proves to be especially effective with colour calculations. LightTools 7.0 also adds a colour rendering index (CRI) calculation capability to aid designers of LEDs and luminaires. In addition, the software features an enhanced ray report that identifies specifically where all energy losses occur in a model, which is critical for stray light and scattering analysis.
Designers of solar energy systems will benefit from enhancements to LightTools’ solar tracking utility, including the addition of sample yearly insolation data, single and double axis tracking system support, and monthly and yearly energy calculations, as well as improvements to the user interface. LightTools 7.0 also adds the ability to optimise Fresnel lenses, such as those used in solar energy applications and a wide variety of illumination systems.