Design of Diffractive Optical Elements for Augmented and Virtual Reality Applications

Tools Used: RSoft CAD, DiffractMOD, FullWAVE, MOST

Virtual Reality (VR) embeds our senses with a 3D, computer generated environment, which can be interacted with and explored.  Augmented Reality (AR) enhances your existing natural environment by overlaying virtual information on top it.  Both worlds harmoniously exist, providing users a new and improved natural world where virtual information can provide assistance to everyday tasks. New types of optical and photonics technologies need to be implement in next-generation VR/AR systems in order to achieve a better sense of display immersion for the user, and provide greater visual comfort for prolonged usage.

Types of Existing Systems

  • Freeform optical prism projection systems
  • Retina scanning
  • Reflective systems or hybrid reflective/refractive systems
  • Optical planar waveguides with diffraction gratings
Simulation Results

Synopsys' Solution for AR/VR Optical System Design

Synopsys provides a complete set of tools to study AR/VR devices.

The workflow: 

For the design and optimization of gratings, gratings can be optimized based on diffraction angle, efficiencies, etc. of any order or combination of orders. MOST optimization in RSoft CAD provides a convenient method to optimize gratings with either FullWAVE or DiffractMOD. All diffractive properties are included in the RSoft BSDF files, and there is no extra work to use RSoft BSDF data in LightTools.  Users are then able to export layout files from RSoft directly, and manufacture gratings in a suitable process.

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