LightTools Enewsletter, July 2018

LightTools Enewsletter

July 2018

LightTools Tolerancing: Tolerancing Component Position

LightTools 8.6 introduces a tolerance analysis capability to help you analyze the impact of manufacturing tolerances and assembly errors on the performance of your design.

The effect of component position errors on performance can be assessed by adding the coordinates and rotation angles of each element as tolerances. There are two ways you can include position tolerances of components for a tolerance analysis: add the position tolerances as independent tolerances, or add a Position Tolerance collection. While the resulting tolerances will be similar, their implementations have a couple of key differences, which we will discuss in this Enews.

Two Ways to Tolerance Component Position:

1. Add each position coordinate as independent tolerances:

Most editable fields can be added as tolerances in LightTools, and this includes the X, Y, Z, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma coordinates. If the component is part of a group, the absolute or relative coordinates can be added as tolerances.
To add a tolerance, right-click on the parameter you wish to add as a tolerance and choose “Add Tolerance”:

The added tolerance will appear in the Tolerancing Input window:

If you want to add multiple coordinate tolerances, you can alternatively right-click on a component to add 3 tolerances with a single click! If you choose “Add X, Y, and Z Tolerances”, it will add X, Y, and Z tolerances. Similarly, if you choose “Add Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Tolerances”, it will add Alpha, Beta, and Gamma tolerances. 

Choosing this option is a quick way to add 3 or 6 independent position tolerances for the component.

Note: “Add X, Y, and Z Tolerances” and “Add Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Tolerances” will add the component’s absolute coordinates as tolerances. Relative coordinate tolerances need to be added one at a time. 

2.  Add a position tolerance collection:

If you right-click on a component and choose “Add Position Tolerance”, this adds a collection of X, Y, Z, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma tolerances. 

The position tolerance will always have the 6 position parameters, however you can right-click on any tolerances you wish to omit and choose “Disable”:

Independent position tolerances vs. the “Position Tolerance” collection

The position tolerance collection has a few key distinctions compared to adding the 6 position tolerances independently:

  • The position tolerance collection values are relative to the parent entity or group. This means you can use them to represent tolerances with respect to the component’s relative coordinate system, rather than absolute coordinate system.
  • With the position tolerance collection, you can pair the X and Y tolerances for more realistic assembly errors. The position tolerance features a “Pairing Controls” tab. When X and Y Tolerance Pairing is enabled, the actual tolerance is a radial or elliptical probability distribution according to the defined 2D distribution of each tolerance. The Pairing Controls tab shows a probability plot for the X and Y tolerances. When pairing is on, the probability distribution is circular. When pairing is off, the tolerances are uncoupled so the probability distribution is square.

While the above figures show a uniform probability, it is also possible to pair other probability distributions as well, for more realistic tolerance values. For example, when the X and Y position tolerances are set to a Distribution Type > Gaussian Distribution, the paired probability distribution becomes:

For More on LightTools Tolerancing

For more on LightTools Tolerancing capabilities, you can watch the collection of Tolerancing videos in the LightTools 8.6 New Feature Videos, or the recording of the LightTools Tolerancing Tutorial Webinar.

Tolerancing in LightTools Webinar Recording Now Available

Learn more about the Tolerance Analysis feature in LightTools 8.6 by viewing our webinar from the Customer Support Portal, which provides information about: 

  • Understanding tolerance analysis: tolerance parameters, performance measures, sensitivity, and predicted yield
  • Specifying tolerance parameters
  • Defining performance measures
  • Performing a tolerance analysis

Contribute to the OSG Software Libraries

The Synopsys Optical Solutions Group accepts requests for data to be added to our software libraries. Upon request, we will measure or obtain optical data for inclusion into our libraries for commercially-available materials, optical properties, surface finishes, light sources, catalog optics, etc. 

Requests can be made via email to

LightTools User Group Meetings

Join us for our annual LightTools User Group Meeting for lectures, discussions, and presentations developed by Synopsys Optical Solutions Group's technical support and engineering staff. The live, in-person meetings start at 9:00 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. Complimentary lunch, as well as morning and afternoon refreshments, will be provided. 

Attend a live meeting:

Sunnyvale, CA

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Synopsys, Inc.
Kelvin Room
1030 West Maude Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94085

Atlanta, GA

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
DoubleTree by Hilton Atlanta - Buckhead
3342 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30326

Save these dates for the three-part webinar series:

Thursday, September 20, 2018
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PDT

  • Complexity Trade-offs when Modeling Sources, Materials, and Optical Properties
  • Augmented Reality Case Study

Thursday, September 27, 2018
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PDT

  • Demystifying Etendue
  • Tolerancing Color Uniformity for LED Systems

Thursday, October 4, 2018
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PDT

  • LightTools 8.6 New Features
  • Panel Luminaire Design Study
  • Effective Usage of LightTools


LightTools Training - Register Today

We are taking registrations for our upcoming LightTools training sessions. Visit our website for more information, and to register online today. Seats are limited, minimum enrollments apply. 

Introduction to Illumination Design Using LightTools

October 1-3, 2018
Synopsys, Inc.
Building 2, Shannon Room
445 North Mary Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94085

Selected Topics LightTools

November 5-7, 2018
Synopsys, Inc.
Building B
690 E. Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA 94043

Customer Networking Luncheon at SPIE Optics + Photonics

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. 

Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina 
Bayside Pavilion Room 
333 W Harbor Dr.
San Diego, CA 92101

Synopsys' Optical Solutions Group cordially invites you to a luncheon reception at the SPIE Optics + Photonics conference in San Diego, CA. Join us for food and drinks, talk with our LightTools experts, share ideas with other users, and learn about our latest software innovations.

In addition, Donald O'Shea, Professor Emeritus of Georgia Institute of Technology, and Julie Bentley, Associate Professor of Optics at University of Rochester, will be available to sign copies of their new book to be published by SPIE Press, "Designing Optics Using CODE V." The book demonstrates how to design optical systems using CODE V, from lens definition to the description and evaluation of lens errors and onto the improvement of lens performance.

Please RSVP before August 15 if you plan to attend the reception. We hope to see you there!

Calendar of Events

For the latest event calendar, please go to our Events page.

Attend the Webinar Series

Can't make it to a live meeting? Register to attend the three-part webinar series: