Simulations: the third domain in physics besides experiments and analytical theory

Simulations are increasingly supplementing or replacing real measurements, as they are generally more cost-effective and time-saving and have the advantage of making the underlying relationships easier to understand. The ILM has developed a number of software tools for the simulation of light propagation in scattering materials such as biological tissue, the atmosphere or plastics. These tools enable the calculation of light propagation on nano-, micro-, meso- and macroscopic scales. Three Maxwell solvers were implemented at the ILM to calculate

the propagation of light in nano- and microscopically large structures (up to around 100 times (in 3D) and 1000 times (in 2D) of the light wavelength). Analytical and numerical (in particular the Monte Carlo method) solutions of the radiative transfer equation were derived or developed for photonic applications on the meso- and macroscopic scales. Possible applications range from the determination of vital parameters, for example on the finger or wrist, to the colour management of plastics and autonomous driving in bad weather.

ILM proprietary software

  • Maxwell solver (see picture above)
  • Monte Carlo method
  • Physics based rendering
  • Analytical solutions of the radiative transfer equation and diffusion theory
  • Software tools for the diffusion and heat conduction equation


Prof. Dr. Alwin Kienle

Prof. Dr. Alwin Kienle

Director Materials Optics & Imaging

Tel: +49 (0)731 / 1429 224

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