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Ray Optics Blog Posts

How to Model Solar Concentrators with the Ray Optics Module

June 23, 2016

A paraboloidal solar dish can focus solar radiation onto a small target or cavity receiver. Because solar energy is collected over a large area, the incident heat flux at the receiver is extremely high. This thermal energy can then be converted to electrical energy or used to produce a chemical energy source, such as hydrogen. Today, we discuss strategies for computing the distribution of heat flux in the focal plane of a typical solar dish concentrator/receiver system.

Using the New Ray Tracing Algorithm in COMSOL Multiphysics® 5.2a

June 20, 2016

With the release of COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.2a, it is now possible to trace rays in unmeshed domains and even release and trace rays outside a geometry. The Ray Optics Module provides an entirely new algorithm that offers these capabilities and more, so that you can model your ray optics designs with ease and accuracy. Let’s investigate how this new algorithm affects your workflow when setting up a typical ray optics model.

Studying Laser-Material Interaction with Multiphysics Modeling

May 11, 2016

Lasers, focused beams of photons of a single wavelength, find use in a wide variety of applications today — from noninvasive surgeries and fiber optic communication to material processing and even DVD players. Let’s see how a research team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) used the power of multiphysics simulation to investigate laser-material interaction to avoid the damage of optics internal to high-power laser systems.

Explaining the Pepper’s Ghost Illusion with Ray Optics

January 11, 2016

In 2012, guests at a California music festival called Coachella were shocked to see rap artist Tupac Shakur perform onstage. Why? Because the famed musician had been dead for nearly two decades. Viral reactions called the digitized performance a “hologram”, which is actually a misnomer. This stunt is an example of the Pepper’s Ghost optical illusion, which can be explained with ray optics.

Should We Model Graphene as a 2D Sheet or Thin 3D Volume?

August 4, 2015

Within the research community — and on the COMSOL Blog — graphene has been a topic of great interest. The unique properties that make this material so remarkable can also make it challenging to analyze. In simulation, a particularly difficult question to address is whether graphene should be modeled as a 2D sheet or a thin 3D volume. We provide answers to this question in today’s blog post.

Simulating a Transparent Light Pipe to Optimize Transmittance

August 3, 2015

Imagine commuting home from work in a dark, dreary subway station. Catching a rare glimpse of natural sunlight could brighten your day and make the ride home much more bearable, but how? With light pipes, natural light can be distributed in otherwise dark areas without any electricity. In this blog post, we explore these simple and elegant devices and show how they can be analyzed in greater detail through simulation.

Modeling Laser-Material Interactions in COMSOL Multiphysics

June 22, 2015

A question that we are asked all of the time is if COMSOL Multiphysics can model laser-material interactions and heating. The answer, of course, depends on exactly what type of problem you want to solve, as different modeling techniques are appropriate for different problems. Today, we will discuss various approaches for simulating the heating of materials illuminated by laser light.

Modeling Thin Dielectric Films in Optics

May 6, 2015

Thin dielectric films are versatile tools for controlling the propagation of light. They can be used, for example, as anti-reflective coatings to reduce the amount of stray light in a system. They can also be used as low-loss reflectors or as filters to selectively transmit certain frequencies of radiation. Here, we’ll discuss some of the built-in tools that the Ray Optics Module provides for modeling optical systems with dielectric films.


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