OptiScan Simulation Program

The OPTISCAN program is a tool for simulating the operation of optical systems. What differentiates OPTISCAN from other simulation software is the wide range of wave-optics phenomena that are available and the easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI). OPTISCAN can be used as a simple demonstrator of idealized systems, or the user can simulate complicated effects like interaction with multiple-layer targets and vector diffraction.

OPTISCAN operates in the MATLAB environment, and all of the commands available to MATLAB users are also available to OPTISCAN users.

The motivation for developing the OPTISCAN program came from an interest in efficient use of student time. Over the last ten years, our research group has developed many very powerful simulation codes for various applications, like optical data storage and laser scanning. Each time a new student joins our group, it takes a significant amount of time to learn the codes. An average learning curve was about six months. I wanted to design an easy-to-use graphical user interface that would connect the different codes in order to shorten the learning curve. Although it took over a year to get OPTISCAN to a useable state, the results are worth it. In one case a student started with no knowledge of the program and was producing results in less than one hour. At this point, not all of the features are operational, but we are working on it. We will continue to develop the program and provide new features as time marches on. I hope that you have as much fun using OPTISCAN as I have had writing it.