LightTools is a complete optical design and analysis software product featuring virtual prototyping, simulation, optimization and photorealistic renderings of precision illumination applications. Its robust 3D modeling technology delivers the inherent accuracy required to simulate ray paths of light as they travel through and within optical elements and mechanical structures. The fully integrated system optimization tool improves the performance of virtually any type of illumination system, dramatically reducing the time required to finalize a design. From LCD displays to vehicle lighting to projector systems, LightTools supports all aspects of illumination design projects. Its robust design features help you quickly and efficiently create and modify your illumination system design, from initial concept phases to subsequent engineering iterations and refinements.


LightTools 8.5 introduces an expanded set of mapping options for surface receivers on non-planar surfaces, known collectively as conformal receivers. New in this version are spherical and UV mesh mapping options, which eliminate the need to project illuminance data collected on complex surfaces onto planar meshes, and make interpretation and optimization much easier. Designers can vary the number of bins in the mesh or set the desired bin size, and use the same filtering, analysis and optimization capabilities that exist for planar meshes. Conformal receivers can be particularly useful for analyzing complex elements such as freeform surfaces combined with LED sources.

LightTools 8.5 enhance the following features:

  • Conformal Surface Receivers
  • Expanded Visualization of Illuminance
  • New Parameter Sensitivity Analyzer
  • Improvements to the Utility Library
  • Light Guide Designer
  • Street Light Utility
  • Source Array Utility


Conformal Surface Receivers

LightTools surface receivers can now be placed on both planar and non-planar surfaces. Because of this new conformal capability, you can now place receivers on most surface types to collect illuminance data, using one of four mesh mapping types:

  • XY mapping for planar surfaces and lens surfaces
  • Cylindrical mapping for cylinders and cones
  • Spherical mapping for spheres
  • UV mapping for all other surface types

You can vary the number of bins in the mesh, and use the same filtering, analysis, and optimization capabilities that exist for planar meshes.

Expanded Visualization of Illuminance Results in the 3D Design View

LightTools provides a capability for displaying a raster image of illuminance output so that you can visualize the orientation and distribution of the illuminance data relative to model geometry. In previous releases, this capability was provided only for receivers on dummy planes. In this release, because of this capability is extended to most surfaces in LightTools. In addition, the appearance of the illuminance data can now be controlled by the settings in the LumViewer for color scheme, scaling, contours and mesh lines, smoothing and lit effects, and linear and logarithmic settings.

LightTools 8.5
Lighttools Guide Designer

Light Guide Designer

The Light Guide Designer helps you create and optimize light guide systems for spatial uniformity of flux extraction (within a specified cone angle) and for angular centroid pointing direction. It can make light guides, add prism extractors created using 3D textures, and add receivers, sources, and reflectors, as well as other items needed for designing light guide systems.

The Light Guide Designer simplifies the complex task of designing light guide systems with unique features including:
• Algorithms developed by Synopsys to rapidly optimize flux uniformity along the length of the light guide
• Automatic modification of texture shapes and lateral positions to optimize the output direction of light
• 3D analysis tools to visualize and evaluate both the flux and angular distribution of light

The Light Guide Designer is particularly useful for the design of light pipes used in automotive lighting, medical devices and architectural lighting.


The LightTools Advanced Design Module provides a set of specialized tools to enable fast, robust modeling of reflective and refractive freeform optics in both single-surface and segmented configurations for a diverse set of illumination applications. The Advanced Design Module leverages proprietary algorithms from Synopsys’ LucidShape® products that automatically calculate and construct optical geometries based on user-defined illuminance and intensity patterns. This unique, functional approach gives designers the freedom to focus on overall design objectives rather than the implementation details of complex optical components.

Key features in the Advanced Design Module include:

  • Freeform Design features for modeling freeform reflective and refractive surfaces that are automatically shaped to form the resulting light pattern.
  • MacroFocal Reflector tool for designing multi-surface segmented reflectors, with different spreads for each facet.
  • Procedural Rectangle Lens tool for designing surfaces with pillowed optical arrays.
  • LED Lens tool for creating various types of freeform LED collimator lenses.
LightTools FreeForm Design
Lighttools example

Application Examples

Backlit displays
General lighting
LED-based sources
Machine vision
Medical devices
Projector systems
Runway lighting
Stray light simulations
Traffic control
Solar concentrators
Vehicle interior lighting