OptoNet Summer Course • Fast Physical Optics Modeling and Design



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. Therefore 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 is necessary.

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 area 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. New features and changes in the latest software will of course be covered within this course.

Some of the topics you can expect to hear about: interferometry, lens systems, anisotropy, fiber coupling, ultrashort pulses, metagratings, augmented and mixed reality lightguides, and more! 


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 (currently in-demand) fields of application. 


This course is designed for optical scientists, engineers, designers with varying levels of expertise with VirtualLab Fusion in mind, starting from total beginners.  

  • 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 and AR & MR: 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 to characterize and optimize gratings as standalone components (including metagratings); it will then moved 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,some time will be devoted 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.  


The Summer Course will take place in Jena, the city of Ernst Abbe and Carl Zeiss who laid the foundation for modern optics 150 years ago. Since then the science city Jena has been shaped by innovative, light-based technologies. Enjoy the spirit in the young university town surrounded by a magnificent landscape and well-known sights of European history.

The venue is the Technology and Innovation Park Jena (TIP)

The seminar will take place in the new TIP at Moritz-von-Rohr-Straße 1a in Jena. With professional technical equipment and a pleasantly undisturbed environment in an innovative dynamic environment, the best conditions for concentrated work are created. During the breaks, we offer healthy, balanced cuisine for refreshment and well-being.


The registration is open. Reservations are possible. Members from our partner clusters benefit from a considerable discount.

Conference materials, documents and exercises are included in the conference fee. Participants are kindly expected to cover the costs for their individual travel and accommodation. Please bring your own notebook, the required software will be provided by the organizer.

Attendance fees for the Summer Course depend on your preferred booking model:

  • Introduction - 2 Days - September 11-12, 2023
    690 EUR member fee (OptoNet members, members of the Regional Networks of OptecNet Germany and members of international partner networks)
    990 EUR regular
  • Gratings - 3 Days - September 13-15, 2023
    990 EUR member fee (OptoNet members, members of the Regional Networks of OptecNet Germany and members of international partner networks)
    1390 EUR regular
  • Introduction + Gratings - 5 Days - September 11-15, 2023
    1450 EUR member fee (OptoNet members, members of the Regional Networks of OptecNet Germany and members of international partner networks)
    2250 EUR regular
  • Introduction + Gratings - 5 days (for undergraduate students) - September 11-15, 2023
    750 EUR participant fee (with proof of undergraduate studies)

(no VAT included according to §4 Nr. 22a UStG)

Applications are conducted through the on-line form. A confirmation email will be sent once the application has been received. The participant undertakes the responsibility to pay the invoice(s) issued for the services in advance and before the due date indicated on the invoice. Cash or cheques will not be accepted. The training fees do not cover travel, accommodation or any other costs such as health insurance. All bookings are provisional until full payment has been received and acknowledged. Provisional Bookings can be reserved for up to 2 weeks, provided that the event's maximum capacity has not been reached.


The cancellation has to be sent by email to info@optonet-jena.de
Before August 11: Fees will be fully reimbursed. A EUR 100 handling fee will be withheld. Until August 25: 50% of the total fee will be reimbursed. A EUR 100 handling fee will be withheld. No refunds will be made for cancellations after August 25 or for no-shows. In case a participant would not be able to attend the training, a substitute can be accepted. Training will be confirmed as soon as the minimum number of participants has been reached. All participants will receive a final confirmation. Training fees are reimbursed in case of cancellation due to force majeure or due to speakers' preventions. No compensation will be paid for any additional costs incurred.

The Program in Detail

Saturday & Sunday, September 9-10

Arrival in Jena

Monday, September 11 | Introduction

8:30 - 9:00
Welcome & registration

9:00 - 11:00
Part I - Introduction 

  • Why do we need physical optics? The trainer will explain the philosophy behind VirtualLab Fusion
  • Field tracing enables fast physical optics. Key aspects of the technology will be presented to you
  • Building your first optical system with VirtualLab Fusion
  • Introduction to a flexible detector concept.

11:15 - 12:15
Part II

  • The role of the Fourier transformation in the simulation of diffraction
  • Introduction to the catalogue of algorithms for the calculation of the Fourier transformation.
  • Explanation of diffraction integrals and the Poisson spot
  • Controlling the selection of Fourier transformation algorithms, automatic selection or tailored configuration and switching diffraction on and off
  • Modeling of pinhole in system with low Fresnel number
  • Foucault’s knife-edge experiment


13:15 -  14:45
Part III

  • The importance of positioning
  • Non-sequential simulations: the Light Path Finder, the channel concept, master channels
  • Modeling of an etalon
  • Examination of sodium D lines with a Fabry-Perot etalon
  • Investigation of ghost image effects in collimation system

15:00 - 16:30
Part IV

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

Tuesday, September 12 | Introduction

9:00 - 10:30
Part V

  • Advanced positioning and interferometry
  • Experiments with a Mach-Zehnder – complementary interference pattern caused by prism beam splitter, observation of the Gouy phase shift, generation of spatially varying polarization

10:45 - 12:15
Part VI

  • Connecting field solvers as the only way to tackle complex optical systems
  • Overview of the current catalogue of electromagnetic field solvers in VirtualLab Fusion
  • Abbe’s image resolution experiment
  • Optical system for investigation of microstructured wafer
  • Birefringence in calcite block, complex polarization effects in uniaxial crystals and conical refraction in biaxial crystals
  • Guidance to select your solver and simulation of tunnelling effect through air gap in prism beam splitter


13:15 - 14:45
Part VII

  • Advanced source modeling – the source mode concept
  • White light Michelson interferometer
  • Demonstration of optical tomography scanning with Michelson and partial temporal coherence
  • Young’s double-slit experiment with an extended source
  • Propagation of ultra-short pulse through high-NA lens
  • Simulation of Talbot effect with unpolarized light
  • Modeling of VCSELs and VCSEL arrays

15:00 - 16:30

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

Welcome dinner
Gasthaus Zur Noll

Wednesday, September 13 | Gratings

9:00 - 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


13:15 - 14:45
Part III

  • Presentation of more examples of rigorous modeling
  • Simulation and analysis of slanted gratings with varying parameters
  • Volume holographic gratings and their sensitivity

15:00 - 16:30
Part IV

  • Gratings 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 and optical system for investigation of microstructured wafer

Thursday, September 14 | Gratings

9:00 - 10:30
Part V

  • Grating design/optimization
  • Optimization of slanted gratings 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


13:15- 14:45
Part VII

  • Introduction to Metagrating
  • Rigorous analysis of nanopillars as metasurface building blocks
  • Design of a blazed metagrating

15:00 - 16:30

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

Friday, September 15 | Gratings

9:00 - 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…)


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 


We recommend the following hotels near the venue:

Hotel SCALA › chic business hotel with a fantastic view over the city of Jena
Hotel Zur Noll › pleasant downtown hotel with Thuringian cuisine
Hotel Vielharmonie › small individual hotel for city tourists
Hotel Eulensteins › modern boutique hotel with ecological orientation 


By submitting this registration form, you agree that your name will be included on a list of participants, which will be available to the other participants. Furthermore, you agree that pictures of the event can be shown on our websites and our social media accounts, unless you explicitly object before the event.

« Zurück zur Übersicht

Logo OptoNet e.V.

11.09.2023 - 15.09.2023
9:00 Uhr - 16:30 Uhr


Technology and Innovation Park Jena, Moritz-von-Rohr-Straße 1a

OptoNet e.V.
Leutragraben 1, 07743 Jena

+49 (0) 3641 327 92 90


Preis (zzgl. MwSt.)
Nicht-Mitglied: 2.250,00 €
Mitglieder: 1.450,00 €

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