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Ansys Lumerical FDTD
Simulation of Photonic Components

Ansys Lumerical FDTD is the gold-standard for modeling nanophotonic devices, processes, and materials. The integrated design environment provides scripting capability, advanced post-processing, and optimization routines.


Industry’s Leading Choice for Versatile and Scalable Photonic Design

Ansys Lumerical FDTD enables advanced photonic design, integrating FDTD, RCWA, and STACK solvers in a single design environment. This empowers precise analysis and optimization for a wide range of devices including gratings, multi-layered stacks, microLEDs, image sensors, and metalenses, delivering best-in-class performance across diverse applications. Ansys Lumerical FDTD empowers rapid virtual prototyping and verification of thousands of iterations for the most complex designs.

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    Choice of Optimal Method: FDTD, RCWA or STACK
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    Multiphysics and Multi-scale workflows
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    Scalable and Accessible HPC and Cloud Solutions
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    Foundry Compatible & Customized Design
ansys lumerical fdtd

Quick Specs

Ansys Lumerical FDTD works seamlessly with Ansys Lumerical CML Compiler, Ansys Multiphysics solvers, Ansys Speos, Ansys Zemax, and third-party electronic-photonic design automation (EPDA) vendors to enable fast, accurate, scalable photonic design. Leverage best-in-class solver on HPC (CPU and GPU) and Cloud to excel in tackling the largest challenges swiftly and efficiently.

  • Unparalleled Performance and Accuracy with FDTD Solver
  • Rapid Analysis of Periodic Structures with RCWA Solver
  • Rapid Analysis of Multi-layer Thin Films
  • Scale and Accelerate on HPC and Cloud
  • Multiscale and Multiphysics Workflows
  • Automation API (Lumerical scripting language, Python and MATLAB)
  • Particle Swarm and Inverse Design Optimization
  • Foundry Compatible Automated Layer Builder
  • Automated S-parameter Extraction

JULY 2024

What's New

The Ansys Lumerical 2024 R2 brings powerful updates and features across its photonics core technologies, ecosystem, cloud and HPC, workflows, and user experience.

2024 R2 Lumerical
FDTD Multi-GPU Acceleration

Faster simulations with the finite-difference time-dDomain (FDTD) method utilizing multiple GPUs. 

  • Momentum advancements - 23R2 GPU Express Mode [2023 R2], 24R1 Single node GPU acceleration and multi-GPU vRAM capacity [2024 R1]
  • Single node acceleration
  • Larger model memory
  • Local or remote on-premise/cloud


2024 R2 Lumerical
FDTD GPU for CMOS Image Sensor

Enhanced FDTD simulations with GPU support for photonic lattice matrices (PLM), including Bloch and Periodic Boundary Conditions (BCs). GPU is as accurate as CPU

  • Periodic BC for normal incidence
  • Bloch BC for oblique incidence and complex field current
  • Compatible with Multi-GPUmulti-GPU acceleration
  • Periodic BC for normal incidence
  • Bloch BC for oblique incidence and complex field current
  • Compatible with multi-GPU acceleration

2024 R2 Lumerical
Lumerical for Ansys Access on Microsoft Azure

Accessibility of Lumerical on Microsoft Azure, offering scalable cloud resources for simulations. Configure a virtual desktop.

  • Bring your own Azure subscription
  • Map local disk drives/One Drive to share project files
  • Virtual machine with full Lumerical suite and Azure hardware scalability - CPU, GPU, and parallel simulations

Co-Packaged Optics - Optical IO Simulation

Tools and features for designing co-packaged optics, enabling integration of photonic and electronic components in a single package.

  • Interoperable workflows enable engineers to accurately account for both nano-scale and macro-scale optical effects
  • Automated optimization workflows for both grating coupler and edge coupler to fiber coupling 
  • Robust analysis and tolerancing against fiber misalignment and manufacturing variations 
Improvements to Photonic Inverse Design for CMOS Image Sensor

Enhancements to the design process for CMOS image sensors, optimizing performance through advanced algorithms.  

  • LumOpt, the Lumerical Python API optimization framework for PID through adjoint method.
  • Enables inverse design of color router metasurface for CMOS image sensors with improved efficiency and minimized crosstalk

Rigorous Coupled-Wave Analysis (RCWA) Solver Enhancements

Refined rigorous coupled-wave analysis (RCWA) solver for better accuracy and speed in simulating periodic structures. 

  • New Li factorization option offers faster convergence of 1D metal gratings.
  • New index preview in RCWA - refractive index profile can be previewed before running the simulation
  • New and improved memory estimate and reports


Versatile and Scalable Photonic Design Powered by Lumerical FDTD

Lumerical FDTD is industry’s leading simulation software for design and optimization of a wide range of photonic components. Lumerical FDTD is remarkably versatile and scalable, offering unmatched speed and the ability to harness HPC (CPU and GPU) and Cloud resources.


Key Features

  • FDTD – 3D Electromagnetic Solver
  • RCWA – Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis
  • STACK – Optical Multilayer Solver
  • Photonic Inverse Design Optimization
  • Scale and Accelerate with HPC and Cloud

From capturing the electric and magnetic field distributions to transmission and reflection, and evaluation of power in each grating order, RCWA provides fast simulations of complex multilayer stacks with surface patterning.

It is ideal for rapid prototyping for thin film applications. From capturing microcavity effects and interference to handling dipole illumination and plane wave functions, STACK provides quick simulations of complex thin film multilayer stacks.

Automatically discover optimal designs and geometries for a targeted design goal.  Discover non-intuitive geometries that optimize performance, minimize area, and improve manufacturability.

Powerful post-processing capability, including far-field projection, band structure analysis, bidirectional scattering distribution function (BSDF) generation, Q-factor analysis, and charge generation rate.

Simulate devices fabricated with nonlinear materials or materials with spatially varying anisotropy. Choose from a wide range of nonlinear, negative index, and gain models. Define new material models with flexible material plug-ins.

Uses multi-coefficient models for accurate material modeling over large wavelengths ranges. Automatically generate models from sample data or define the functions yourself.

FDTD’s CAD environment and parameterizable simulation objects allow for rapid model iterations for 2D and 3D models.


Rockley Photonics

Rockley conducted multiple 2D and 3D single time-domain simulations using Lumerical software on Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) thus allowing for the extraction of high-resolution spectra.



Xanadu builds X8 quantum computing chip with unprecedented low-loss performance while significantly accelerating their design schedule.


LIGENTEC Leveraged Ansys Lumerical Photonic Inverse Design for a Compact Waveguide Crossing Design

LIGENTEC used Photonic Inverse Design (PID) capabilities in Ansys Lumerical FDTD for the design and optimization of its waveguide crossing.

White Papers

View More


Maximizing Design Flexibility for Multi-layered and Diffractive Optical Components

Learn how the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD), rigorous coupled-wave analysis (RCWA), and STACK solvers in Ansys Lumerical FDTD can be used to simulate nanostructured, multilayered optical components. 


Designing for Success: A Solver Combination Strategy for Photonic Integrated Components

This white paper discusses approaches for addressing photonic integrated circuit (PIC) component simulation challenges with a combination of optical solvers. 

Application Gallery


Photonic Inverse Design Grating Coupler (3D)

In this example, we use the Inverse Design Toolbox (lumopt) to optimize a 3D SOI grating coupler.


Polarization-sensitive plasmonic reflectors for HUD – Speos Interoperability

or a HUD that needs to reflect polarized lights, here we demonstrate periodic plasmonic nanostructures that could provide significant reflection for certain polarization.



In this example, we use the STACK optical solver and FDTD to characterize a cylindrical micro-LED and extract the emitted power and radiation pattern.


FDTD Product Reference Manual

The FDTD reference manual provides detailed descriptions of product features.


RCWA Product Reference Manual

The RCWA reference manual provides detailed product descriptions of product features. 


STACK Product Reference Manual

The STACK reference manual provides detailed descriptions of product features.

Ansys software is accessible

It's vital to Ansys that all users, including those with disabilities, can access our products. As such, we endeavor to follow accessibility requirements based on the US Access Board (Section 508), Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), and the current format of the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).

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