LightTools Enewsletter

December 2020

LightTools 9.1 Now Available

We are pleased to announce that LightTools 9.1 is now available. This release delivers the following key features, as well as many other enhancements that expand modeling and analysis capabilities and usability.

  • SOLIDWORKS Link Module Efficiency Enhancements
  • Capabilities to Support LiDAR Modeling and Analysis
  • Birefringent Feature Expanded to Support Biaxial Materials
  • Distributed Simulation Solution

Key New Features in LightTools 9.1

SOLIDWORKS Link Module Efficiency Enhancements

The following enhancements to the SOLIDWORKS LightTools Link Module can improve efficiency as users interact with linked models to develop and analyze a design.

  • Define and position ray data light sources. To facilitate the placement of ray data light sources in a linked SOLIDWORKS model, you can create a coordinate system in SOLIDWORKS and associate it with a ray data file; when the model is linked in LightTools, the ray data file is loaded, using the position and orientation provided with the coordinate system.
  • Pre-specify optical properties in SOLIDWORKS. You can now add an optical property identifier (ID) to any of the faces of solid bodies or features in a SOLIDWORKS part. When the SOLIDWORKS model is linked in LightTools, optical property IDs are automatically mapped to matching optical property names in LightTools. The mapping allows you to update multiple SOLIDWORKS faces by changing the LightTools optical property. You can also specify a default optical property ID to use for surfaces that don’t have an optical property ID.

  • Access configurations. For configurations that are defined in SOLIDWORKS, you can access and activate them in the linked model in LightTools.

Capabilities for LiDAR and Laser Sources

The following features provide capabilities needed for modeling and analyzing systems for light detection and ranging (LiDAR) or laser applications.

  • Expanded capabilities for light sources enable the modeling of Gaussian and Super Gaussian light distributions using spatial and angular apodization, for designing laser sources, for example.
  • A new analysis feature facilitates detecting objects and determining their distance. For forward simulations, you can now specify an Optical Path Length mesh for LightTools analyses. This new mesh type enables you to capture the optical path length of rays collected in a simulation, and this data can be used to approximate time-of-flight information necessary in various LiDAR systems, for example.
  • Improvements to coherent ray tracing, which allows users to address phase interference of overlapping beams, include updated calculations that consider both the phase information from the optical path length of a ray and the field amplitudes.

Biaxial Materials for Birefringent Feature

LightTools’ birefringent capability, which supported uniaxial materials in version 9.0, now also supports biaxial materials. The birefringent capability enables you to trace rays through anisotropic materials (also commonly referred to as birefringent materials) – materials for which the index of refraction is dependent on both the propagation direction of the light and the ray’s polarization state. The biaxial capability allows you to model optical systems using anisotropic materials such as mica and topaz, where the effects of polarization and dispersion are important.

Distributed Simulation Solution

The LightTools Distributed Simulation Module provides the capability to increase the simulation speed of large, computation intensive ray trace processes over a collection of computers. Initially introduced in LightTools 9.0 for forward simulations, this new module now also supports backward simulations.

Usability Improvements

  • Configuration Improvements. To automate tasks when you’re working with LightTools configurations, you can now specify one or more commands to execute when you change from one configuration to another.
  • New parametric control: grid expression. A grid expression combines the storage capability of a grid parameter with the power of parametric expression. It allows you to store numeric data generated by a user-entered expression, copy it to use in other LightTools tables, and add it to optimization constraints, optimization merit functions, and tolerancing performance measures. Grid expressions are stored in the LightTools system (.lts) file.

For More Information

For details about these and other features in LightTools 9.1, see the LightTools 9.1 Release Notes. If you have any questions about features in this release, contact

Download the LightTools 9.1 New Features Datasheet

Software and License File Instructions

Direct-Sales Customers

Software and license key files for LightTools direct-sales customers are available on the Synopsys SolvNetPlus website.

Distributor Customers

For customers working with distributors, you will continue to obtain your software and license keys from your local LightTools software distributor. See the Synopsys Optical Solutions Group Global Contacts page for contact information. If your country is not listed on the page referenced above, please contact us at for instructions.

Floating License Manager

If you use a floating license manager to manage licenses for client computers running LightTools 9.1, you must install the OSG Floating License Manager that is available with LightTools 9.1. If you are updating from LightTools 9.0 to LightTools 9.1, you need to install a new license file, but you do not need to install a new OSG Floating License Manager. The OSG Floating License Manager software is available from the same source that provides your LightTools software (e.g., SolvNetPlus or your distributor). This version of the OSG Floating License Manager can also manage licenses for client computers running earlier versions of LightTools as well as CODE V and the LucidShape family of products.

Note that prior to installing the OSG Floating License Manager, you must first uninstall from the host server the following applications (made available with LightTools 8.7 or earlier) using the Windows Control Panel > Programs and Features:

  • OSG Floating License Manager Admin Tool
  • Sentinel RMS License Manager

For details, please consult the LightTools Installation Guide, Chapter 3, or contact support at

Holiday Technical Support

From December 24, 2020 to January 1, 2021, please allow for a delayed response to your request for LightTools technical support. Our technical support will be very limited during this time and will be available only by e-mail.  
We will resume business as usual and will respond to product support and general inquiries on January 4, 2021. You can contact us via e-mail at
Thank you for your patience and understanding. 

In countries where we have international representatives, you can contact distributors directly. Please see the list of global contacts on our website.

Optical and Photonic Solutions Blog

How to Accelerate Biomedical Optics Design for Light-Based Technologies

October 14 | Read now 

Are You Up for the IODC Challenge?

October 1| Read now 

Success Story: Designing the World’s First Fully Digital 3D Digital Surgical Microscope with LightTools

July 6 | Read now

Upcoming Events & Conferences


SPIE Photonics West 2021

March 6-11, 2021 | Moscone Center, San Francisco CA

Details and Registration

Missed an enews? View the directory of past enews.