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Ansys Lumerical varFDTD
Getting Started (Self-paced Learning Available)

Course Overview

This course introduces variational FDTD (varFDTD) solver, one of the three solvers in MODE. It is primarily intended for beginner to intermediate users, with a focus on providing practical examples to common tasks. The course builds on the knowledge on the FDTD and a porttion of the course is dedicated to explaining how the 2.5D varFDTD differs from the full 3D FDTD simulations. The course covers frequently used functional areas, simulation setup, running simulations, and post-processing results. 


  • Basic understanding of electromagnetism and mode/waveguide theory.
  • Familiarity with simulation methodology and physics of FDTD (standard 2D and 3D simulations).  Ansys FDTD Getting Started course is a recommended prerequisite to this course, as many aspects of the solver and setup are shared. As such, some topics such as material modeling, meshing, and convergence testing will not be covered in detail as they are discussed in the Ansys FDTD Getting Started course. 

Target Audience

All photonics engineers.

Teaching Method

Lectures and demos. A major emphasis is placed on balanced mix of basic theoretical knowledge and helpful practical examples that will allow new users to quickly become proficient and productive with varFDTD.

Learning Path

Currently, no Learning Path available.

Learning Outcome

Following completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Learn what types of devices are suitable for varFDTD.
  • Understand how the tool differs from FDTD and what its advantages are compared to the 3D FDTD.
  • Understand the assumptions made in the varFDTD.
  • Be able to set up simulations using the varFDTD solver from scratch.
  • Know where to place the slab mode and test mode markers.
  • Understand what results that can be obtained from varFDTD simulations and how to expand some of them in z-direction.

 Available Dates

Currently, no training dates available

Learning Options

Training materials for this course are available with an Ansys Learning Hub Subscription. If there is no active public schedule available, private training can be arranged. 

Self-paced Learning 

Complete a class on your own schedule at your own pace. Scope is equivalent to Instructor led classes. Includes video lecture, workshops and input files. All our Self-Paced video courses are only available with an Ansys Learning Hub subscription.


This is a 1-day classroom course covering both lectures and workshops. For virtual training, this course is covered over 2 x 2-hour sessions lectures only.

Virtual Classroom Session 1

Module 1: Introduction to varFDTD

  • When to use varFDTD

Module 2: My first simulation

  • Ring resonator

Module 3: Solver physics

  • Solver algorithm

Virtual Classroom Session 2

Module 4: Solver Region, materials, sources and monitors

  • Solver region
  • Materials
  • Sources and monitors

Module 5: Examples