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Case Study

Waseda Develops Thermo-Optic Switch Device for Automotive Industry

“Professor Tomohiro Kita, Lead Investigator Waseda UniversityUsing Ansys Lumerical FDTD, we were able to accurately simulate and optimize complex structures and thus reach our research goals. Lumerical’s intuitive support for scripting is backed by a broad set of application gallery examples, making it easy to quickly develop complex workflows. With its simulation speed and accuracy, hundreds of development hours were saved, and the fabricated device was in close agreement with simulation results.”

— Professor Tomohiro Kita, Lead Investigator Waseda University

Research Summary

Professor Tomohiro Kita’s research group in the Department of Applied Physics at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, set out to develop a direct carrier injection thermo-optic phase shifter used for optical switching in a Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) configuration. They aimed to develop a device well-suited for lidar systems in self-driving automotive systems. To meet this goal, the Waseda team focused on reducing the device footprint while maximizing switching speed. Further, the ohmic resistance value of the device had to be small enough to be driven with a low-voltage source.


Using the Lumerical FDTD software, the Waseda team was able to develop and optimize a prototype to meet their requirements quickly. FDTD’s intuitive scripting interface and broad application gallery examples helped them get started and achieve their research goals with minimum turnaround time.

With the speed, accuracy, and ease of use of Lumerical FDTD, the Waseda team developed a thermo-optic switch device that maintains a low optical insertion loss, compact footprint, and fast switching speed.

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