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Posted: August 6, 2009
Nanophotonic Design Software Developer Announces New Release
(Nanowerk News) Lumerical Solutions, Inc., a provider of nanophotonic design software, today announced the immediate availability of FDTD Solutions Release 6.5. Release 6.5 continues to build on the proprietary framework of earlier releases to model the behaviour of materials of industrial interest over broad wavelength ranges, and incorporates the ability to construct parameterized, hierarchical models of complex nanophotonic devices, including digital image sensors, LED/OLEDs, and thin-film solar cells.
Improving the usability of FDTD Solutions has also been a major focus of the latest release. From a simulation object tree browser to help designers navigate the many constituent elements of a complex design, to a search utility integrated within the FDTD Solutions application that connects the end user to the more than 750 topics housed within the online FDTD Solutions knowledge base, users are increasingly able to access the information they are looking for in an efficient manner.
'Continued demand from our growing customer base for fast, accurate and easily-accessible simulation results has been the main driver behind the release of version 6.5 today,' said Dr. James Pond, Lumerical's CTO. 'An increasingly flexible approach to designing complex devices and systematically quantifying their performance, combined with tremendous speed improvements afforded by recent releases of new cost-effective processor architectures, makes version 6.5 the most powerful release of FDTD Solutions yet.'
Recent innovations by hardware manufacturers have provided large increases in scalable memory bandwidth that benefit suitably designed parallel applications like FDTD Solutions. Processors that incorporate higher-bandwidth DDR3 memory, more available memory channels as with Intel's Nehalem processor architecture, and memory controllers integrated onto processor chips provide significant performance improvements to memory-intensive applications running on multi-core and multiprocessor systems.
'FDTD Solutions running on a new Intel Core i7 processor has provided up to a three-fold speed up of our simulations,' according to Magued Boshra Nasr, Ph.D., a Senior Research Scientist at Boston-based solar cell start-up Lightwave Power, Inc. 'Lightwave Power is focused on commercializing breakthrough improvements to current solar cells in the form of inexpensive nano-patterned thin films that can improve their efficiency. FDTD Solutions allows us to quantify that improvement, and quickly generate results that agree with our experimental measurements.'
The new parameterization capabilities of FDTD Solutions Release 6.5 will help researchers better understand how key parameters impact design performance.
'In our work designing plasmonic light trapping layers for silicon solar cells, we have recently shown that a silver nanoparticle array located on the back surface of a silicon solar cell can enhance light trapping near the silicon band edge where collection efficiency normally degrades,' explained Fiona J. Beck, a Ph.D. candidate at the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems at the Australian National University. 'FDTD Solutions expedites the analysis of these systems greatly. The new features of version 6.5 will enable us to parameterize our designs, making it easier to investigate the behavior of these nanoparticles as we vary their geometry and local environment.'
The ability to conduct systematic studies of how device geometry impacts collection efficiency, optical loss, and overall optical performance will enable research and development professionals to prototype new device concepts, and efficiently refine those initial designs.
'The new features of FDTD Solutions version 6.5 will help me to generate optimized and readily manufacturable solar device designs for my clients,' according to Kevin Keilbach, principal of Keilbach Consulting, Inc. 'In my engagements with established solar energy companies and start-ups alike, there is intense demand for rapid progress towards optimal component designs. The ability to parameterize design concepts and quickly assess their performance with FDTD Solutions 6.5 will allow me to better serve the solar cell industry in its search for higher efficiencies and more cost-effective technologies.'
Lumerical is now shipping Release 6.5 of FDTD Solutions. Interested parties can download a free, 30-day trial online or learn more about FDTD Solutions by visiting http://www.lumerical.com/fdtd.php.