LightTools Capabilities Matrix

Optical System

Number of optical elements allowed Unlimited
Number of wavelengths allowed Unlimited
Linear dimension options Inches, nm, mm, cm, meters
Macro language Yes (model creation, manipulation, analysis)
Number of sources allowed 
(Illumination only)
Number of receivers allowed 
(Illumination only)
Number of imaging paths allowed Unlimited
Number of fields (imaging paths only) Unlimited
Pupil specification options
(imaging paths only)
Entrance pupil diameter
Numerical aperture at object
Field specification options
(imaging paths only)
Field angle (infinite conjugate) 
Object height (finite conjugate)
Reference rays (imaging paths only) Chief ray plus unlimited reference ray definition (number and position)
Aperture stop (imaging paths only) Definable on any optical surface
Automatic and user-defined data setting Pupil specification (EPD or NAO) 
Vignetting (moves all reference rays)

Optical Elements

Surface shapes Plane, Sphere, Conic
Cylinder (X or Y)
Toroid (X or Y, with 20th order aspheric profile)
Polynomial asphere (20th order)
Swept spline (input via macro)
Spline patch (input via macro)
Anamorphic asphere (20th order)
Odd-power polynomial asphere (30th order)
Zernike (65 terms)
XY Polynomial (10th degree)
Superconic (20th order)
Radius specifications Radius or curvature
Radius type solves (imaging paths only) Marginal or chief ray slope
Marginal or chief ray angle of incidence
Marginal or chief ray height
Aplanatic (marginal or chief ray)
Thickness solve types (imaging paths only) Marginal or chief ray height
Paraxial image location
Number of solves per element 4 (2 radii and 2 thicknesses, imaging paths only)
Surface characteristics - refract mode
  (can be applied to any surface shape)
Refract (fails on TIR)
TIR only (fails on refract)
TIR (refract or reflect, depending on angle of incidence)
Split (refract and reflect, unless TIR)
Absorb (stops rays)
Mechanical (stops rays)
Surface Scattering Lambertian, Gaussian, cosn, user-defined, mixed distributions, elliptical Gaussian (BSDF)
Volume Scattering Mie, user-defined, or Henyey Greenstein
Importance Sampling Yes, via aim area and/or aim sphere
Surface properties Transmittance
User-defined coatings
Polarizing properties (ideal linear polarizer or retarder)
Fresnel loss (calculated transmittance/ reflectance)
Maximum number of hits per non-sequential ray
Diffractive surface forms Linear grating
Radial polynomial (DOE)
XY polynomial (DOE)
Diffraction direction Transmission, reflection, both (multiple orders allowed)
Glass types Catalog glass
Fictitious (Nd and Vd specified)
User materials (optical and non-optical)
Glass entry method Info dialog box or via Glass Map
Glass catalogs supplied Schott, Ohara, Hoya, Chance, Corning France, Kodak, Baush & Lomb, Corning, Special or user material
Aperture shapes allowed Circular, Rectangular, Arcuate, Ellipse, or Bitmap
Number of apertures per surface Unlimited
Aperture location Arbitrary location and orientation on surface

Optical Element Operations

Stretch lens focal point (changes power) Yes (front or back focal point)
Bend lens (maintains power) Yes
Cement/Uncement two elements Yes (cementing changes 2nd radius as necessary)
Immersion Yes
Scale Yes
Move Yes (absolute or by vector)
Copy Yes (absolute or by vector)
Rotate Yes (absolute or in pane)
Array Yes (rectangular or circular)
Fold (maintains 2:1 ratio for old mirrors) Yes (absolute or in pane)
Group/Ungroup elements Yes
Align to user-coordinate system Yes (along any axis)
Delete/Undelete Yes (unlimited)

Non-optical Elements

Number of non-optical objects allowed Unlimited
3D object primitives Block, Cylinder, Sphere
Ellipsoid, Toroid
Rotationally swept polyline
Linear extrusion
2D object types Lines, Rectangles, Text

Boolean Operations

Types of operations Union (combine multiple objects into one)
Subtract (remove one object from others)
Intersect (retain overlap of objects)
Trim (slice off an edge)
Unbool operation Yes, breaks apart into components
Number of Boolean operations allowed Unlimited
Editing Yes, all Boolean operations can be edited without the need to re-perform the operation
Applicable objects All 3D objects, optical or non-optical (except sources)

Non-Sequential Ray Tracing

Ray tracing modes Single ray
Ray fan (point source, virtual point source, parallel fan)
Ray grid (point source, virtual point source, parallel grid)
Invoking procedure Point-and-shoot (select type, starting point, and direction)
Automatic update Yes, upon any optical system change
Physical representation Exact replication of behavior in 3D space, including splitting, TIR, multiple-order diffraction, scattering, etc.
Visualization Color, line width, line style, show/no show all user-selectable


3D View Wireframe, translucent, solid
2D View Planar, profile representation of 3D model
Table view User-definable tables of components, sources, imaging paths, or non-sequential rays
Special purpose views Non-sequential grid footprints on selected surface
Performance coating editor
Number of open views allowed Unlimited
Updating Automatic updating of all open views
VRML Export Yes

Construction Tools

Layers 32 maximum (user-defined layer names)
Grid Dot or quadrille
On/Off selectable
Show/No show selectable
Variable X,Y spacing
Color distinction at regular intervals
Grid snap (element positioning) Snap to grid
Snap to X, Y, or Z axis
Snap to object
Snap to any line
Snap to orthogonal direction
Enable/disable snap
Coordinate system Global coordinates
User-coordinate system (position and orientation user-selectable)
Positioning Cartesian (absolute, relative)
Spherical coordinates
Polar coordinates
Position absolute
Position relative

Layout Views

Windowing Pan (by mouse, command buttons, scroll bars, or window center)
Zooming (by mouse, fixed factor or by selectable window)
Fit (each pane individually or fit all panes the same)
Layout panes (3D Design view) One or four pane
Pane size adjustable
Viewpoint default Front, side, top, isometric (3D Design view)
Side (2D Design view, Imaging Path view)
Viewpoint modification
(3D Design view only)
Rotate about any axis (mouse or command buttons)
Align to front or side of any object
Align to any axis of user-coordinate system
Visibility On/Off by layer or entity type
Rendering resolution Selectable by slider
Color Color, saturation, hue, translucence, and shininess selectable by surface type (refract, reflect, absorb, or mechanical surface) 
Color, line width, and line style selectable for any object

Text Annotation

Text features Edit
Normal, Italic
Rotate, Position
Scale independently in X,Y
Proportional or fixed space, Justify
Ancillary elements Lines, arrows (in library), boxes
Supplied fonts 15
Maximum number of fonts allowed Unlimited

Illumination Features (with Illumination Module only)

Source properties Point source
Volume or surface emitter
Radiant Imaging source data
Sphere, Cylinder, Block, Toroid
Polychromatic analysis
Emittance control (direction, on/off)
Point source angular distribution Lambertian, Uniform, User-defined
Surface emitter angular distribution Lambertian, Uniform, User-defined
Surface emitter spatial distribution Uniform, user-defined
Volume emitter angular distribution Uniform, user-defined
Volume emitter volume distribution Uniform, cylinder, user-defined
Number of sources Unlimited
Receivers Attached to surface or far-field
User-defined "bins"
Dynamic re-binning without re-tracing
Dynamic re-focusing without re-tracing
Number of receivers Unlimited
Ray trace Fully non-sequential
Monte Carlo method (random start point and direction)
Number of rays Unlimited
Optional preview on design views
Output 2D line plots - rectangular and polar
Raster pseudo-color, RGB color, or grayscale plots
Candela plots
Iso-illuminance contour plots
3D surface plots - rectangular and polar
Graphical smoothing of ray trace data
Scatter plots of Monte Carlo rays on receiver surface
Encircle energy plots
Tabular displays of encircled energy data
Adjustable binning of irradiance/illuminance distributions
Display of Monte Carlo rays
Labeling with radiometric or photometric units
Tab-delimited file import/export of illumination data
Analysis Irradiance/Illuminance on a surface
Luminous intensity of a source
Source luminous intensity over a full sphere
Encircled flux for a user-defined square, rectangle, circle, oval, and expanding slit
Radial and planar symmetry data processing
Statistics for the ray data (average, std-dev., max)
Summary data of ray termination points
Receivers can be moved and the illuminance distribution is automatically updated.

Standard Interfaces

Export CODE V lens data
CODE V plot file
LightTools script
Tab-delimited spreadsheet
IGES and DXF wireframe
VRML export
Import CODE V lens data
LightTools script

Optional Import/Export Interfaces (with Data Exchange Modules)

IGES writes IGES version 5.3
reads IGES versions up to and including 5.3
STEP supports AP 203 CC 6 and AP 214 CC 2
SAT reads and writes versions 1.5, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0
CATIA reads and writes CATIA V4 and V5

Imaging Paths (with Imaging Path Module only)

Number of imaging paths allowed Unlimited
Ray tracing types allowed Sequential or non-sequential
Imaging path definition By non-sequential ray
By surface selection
Imaging path update By adding objects or surfaces
By non-sequential ray
Imaging Path view Represents a single imaging path (includes lens prescription table with traditional sign conventions)
Field specification Graphically via Field Spec window
Reference ray specification Graphically via Pupil Map window
Optical performance plots Ray aberration curves
Spot diagrams
Exportable to CODE V Yes
Importable from CODE V Yes