September 16, 2021 11:30 a.m.–4:15 p.m. EDT

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COMSOL Day: Optics & Photonics

See what is possible with multiphysics simulation

Join us for a full-day online event focusing on optics and photonics. You will have the opportunity to meet COMSOL technical staff and COMSOL users designing and analyzing optical devices and systems.

This event will feature a guest panel of industry users, presentations, and question-and-answer sessions covering a variety of topics within optics and photonics. The applications covered will span a wide range of length scales, from nano- and micro-optical devices to large-scale systems like cameras and telescopes. Specific examples include waveguides, lasers, scattering, photonic devices, optoelectronics, lighting, lidar systems, spectrometers, interferometers, solar radiation, and more. Novel engineering involving optics like metamaterials and plasmonics will also be presented, as will multiphysics combinations and simulation apps.

We welcome both experienced COMSOL Multiphysics® users and those who are new to the COMSOL® software to attend. Feel free to invite your colleagues.

View the schedule below and note that it may be subject to change. Register for free today!


11:00 a.m.

Please join us before the first presentation starts to settle in and make sure that your audio and visual capabilities are working.

11:30 a.m.
Welcoming Remarks
11:40 a.m.

An overview of current challenges in simulating optics and photonics will start this COMSOL Day. This includes applying numerical modeling to systems ranging from the subwavelength scale to optically large systems. Robust modeling of these phenomena leads to better design and optimization of applications dependent on optical wave communication; media conductive to guiding photonic, microwave, and nanowave electromagnetic radiation; plasmonic materials and metamaterials; devices used in optical sensing and imaging; applications dependent on laser-material interaction; energy conversion through photonic means; and lighting.

12:05 p.m.
12:15 p.m.
Parallel Session
Wave Optics Simulations in a Multiphysics Context

In this session, we will present an overview of the Wave Optics Module, especially when subject to other physics phenomena. This module solves the Maxwell equations to simulate an optical wave’s propagations, reflections, refractions, absorptions, scatterings, diffractions, and other optical phenomena in space dimensions that are similar in size or larger than the propagating wavelength. Typical applications are waveguides, gratings, photonic crystals, nanoantennas, resonators, lenses, couplers, modulators, filters, holograms, and optical fibers. In particular, we will cover wave optics multiphysics effects such as electro-optical, stress-optical, and semiconductor-optoelectronic couplings.

Ray Optics Simulations in a Multiphysics Context

This session will focus on the simulation of electromagnetic wave propagation using the Ray Optics Module. Ray tracing is an effective numerical method for modeling wave propagation in optically large geometries, where the wavelength is comparatively small and diffraction phenomena can be neglected. Typical applications include cameras, telescopes, interferometers, monochromators, spectrometers, solar concentrators, and laser cavities.

In this session, we will show how to trace rays of monochromatic or polychromatic light using the Ray Optics Module; how to apply boundary conditions, including diffuse and specular reflection, refraction, and absorption; how to analyze ray intensity and polarization; and how to use built-in postprocessing tools to analyze optical performance and quantify monochromatic aberrations.

12:45 p.m.
1:00 p.m.

Yaasin Mayi, Safran Additive Manufacturing

During this presentation, we will introduce a new methodology based on the COMSOL Multiphysics® software and the Application Builder to simulate the “beam trapping” effect during laser welding at the melt pool scale. This phenomenon occurs when the incident laser intensity is high enough to vaporize the irradiated material. A keyhole is thus generated, and incident irradiation gets somewhat “trapped” by multiple reflections at the keyhole walls — not only increasing the energy coupling of the process but also affecting its stability.

To describe this phenomenon, the new methodology works as follows. On one hand, there is a melt pool model developed, which accounts for relevant physics to treat the hydrodynamic problem (surface tension, Marangoni convection, recoil pressure, etc.). On the other hand, there is a laser beam model to compute the absorbed laser heat flux in accordance with the keyhole geometry. Both models are run sequentially via a Java® method to update the heat source self-consistently as the keyhole forms, deforms, and fluctuates. Despite its simplicity, this method is able to reproduce complex keyhole formation in accordance with recent state-of-the-art X-ray images.

1:30 p.m.
Introduction to COMSOL Multiphysics® for New Users

Learn the fundamental workflow of COMSOL Multiphysics®. This introductory demonstration will show you all of the key modeling steps, including geometry creation, setting up physics, meshing, solving, and postprocessing.

2:00 p.m.
Welcome Back: Some Useful Resources
2:05 p.m.

Computational modeling and simulation are an integral part of industrial and academic research, development, and optimization to produce better products faster, while expanding the boundaries of scientific knowledge. Trends in innovation and simulation involve the ability to model complex coupled phenomena, while engaging various stakeholders, including nonsimulation experts. In this panel discussion, experts from industry, academia, and government organizations will showcase how they are using multiphysics simulation to improve products by creating representative models for complex phenomena, while turning them into easy-to-use simulation apps. Attendees are welcome to ask the panelists questions and hear perspectives on their topics of interest.


  • Marin Sigurdson, Teledyne FLIR
  • Scott Sorbel, Raytheon
  • Yu-Hung Lai, OEwaves


  • David Kan, COMSOL
2:45 p.m.
2:50 p.m.
Parallel Session
How to Perform STOP Analysis in COMSOL

In this session, you will learn how to perform structural-thermal-optical performance (STOP) analyses using COMSOL Multiphysics®. Just as COMSOL Multiphysics® is able to seamlessly combine different physical phenomena, it can also combine different numerical methods. A typical STOP model involves heat transfer and structural mechanics modeling with the finite element method (FEM) and ray optics simulation.

Simulating Quantum-Optical Devices and Semiconductor-Optical Systems

Quantum effects are becoming increasingly exploited in technical applications such as computing processes, optical sensors, photonic-based communication media, and security systems. They are prevalent in applications such as the determination of photovoltaic cell efficiency and even the color of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). In this presentation, we will explore the interaction between electronic and optic phenomena down to the level of single photons. The Schrödinger Equation interface in the Semiconductor Module will be an integral part of this session, as it allows users to model quantum-confined systems such as quantum wells, wires, and dots. In addition, optical transitions can also be incorporated into this interface to simulate a range of devices, such as solar cells, LEDs, and photodiodes.

3:20 p.m.
3:35 p.m.
Parallel Session
Multiscale Electromagnetics Simulation

The best choice of numerical method for modeling electromagnetic wave propagation depends on the optical size, the ratio of the geometry dimensions to the wavelength of the electromagnetic radiation. For example, a full-wave solution to Maxwell’s equations is best suited to a geometry comparable in size to the wavelength, whereas ray optics simulation is recommended when the geometry details are all much larger than the wavelength.

In this session, we will discuss multiscale modeling of electromagnetic wave propagation, in which the simulation domain has some dimensions much larger than the wavelength and other dimensions comparable to it. We will demonstrate how the different numerical methods for electromagnetics simulation can be coupled to each other to benefit from each method’s unique strengths.

Thermal Modeling of Lasers in Manufacturing Processes

The modeling of space- and time-varying heat application and transfer in manufacturing processes by using lasers will be covered during this session. This involves the manipulation of source terms in the specification of boundary and volumetric domain conditions through solving, among others, the Beer–Lambert law. The modeling of complicated motion paths will also be covered.

Applications of these demonstrated modeling techniques are useful for modeling laser heating processes, and can also be extended to include the modeling of ablation, phase change, and melt-pool simulations. Together, these can be applied to simulating medical and aesthetics treatment, noninvasive cancer surgery, welding, annealing, semiconductor processing, material polishing and microshaping, selective laser melting, and sintering.

4:05 p.m.
4:20 p.m.
Concluding Remarks

COMSOL Speakers

Lauren Sansone
Marketing and Events Director
Lauren Sansone is the marketing and events director at COMSOL, Inc. and has been with COMSOL since 2006. She is responsible for the global event marketing of COMSOL Days, the COMSOL Conference, exhibitions, and training.
David Kan
Vice President of Sales
David Kan is COMSOL's vice president of sales for the southwestern region of the US. He set up the Los Angeles branch office of COMSOL in 2001 and received a PhD in applied mathematics from UCLA in 1999.
Chris Boucher
Technical Product Manager
Chris Boucher is the technical product manager for the Particle Tracing Module, Ray Optics Module, and Molecular Flow Module. He received his BS degree in aerospace engineering and physics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) before joining COMSOL in 2012.
Ulf Olin
Senior Technical Product Manager
Ulf Olin is a product specialist within the electromagnetics group at COMSOL. Before joining COMSOL in 2011, he worked in optics research at the Institute of Optical Research in Stockholm and in optics and fiber optics research for various companies. He is also an associate professor (docent) of physics at KTH in Stockholm.
Chien Liu
Technology Manager
Chien Liu is a senior member of the technical team at COMSOL, working with the MEMS and Semiconductor modules. Previously, he worked in R&D at Polaroid and Zink Imaging, where he coinvented the Zero INK technology. Chien has a PhD from Harvard University in applied physics and a postdoctorate from Rowland Institute for Science.
Walter Frei
Principal Applications Engineer
Akhilesh Sasankan
Applications Engineer
Akhilesh Sasankan is a technical sales engineer at COMSOL. Before starting at COMSOL, he received master's in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University. Akhilesh's areas of interests include CFD and high-performance computing.
Jaymin Patel
Applications Engineer
Jaymin Patel is an applications engineer at COMSOL. His focus is on products related to CFD, heat transfer, and chemical engineering. He received his master's degree in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Andrzej Bielecki
Applications Engineer
Andrzej Bielecki is an applications engineer at COMSOL with a focus on CFD. He graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Prior to joining COMSOL, he worked as an application engineer designing needle and track roller bearings for the aerospace industry.

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COMSOL Day Details

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September 16, 2021 | 11:30 a.m. EDT (UTC-04:00)
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Invited Speakers

Marin Sigurdson Teledyne FLIR

Marin Sigurdson is a scientist at Teledyne FLIR in Santa Barbara, CA, where she uses COMSOL Multiphysics® to model the performance and yield of microbolometers for infrared cameras. Before FLIR, she worked in MEMS modeling at Innovative Micro Technologies, and in microfluidics at UC Santa Barbara. She received her PhD in mechanical engineering from UCSB in 2008.

Yaasin Mayi Safran Additive Manufacturing

Yaasin Mayi is a PhD candidate at PIMM Laboratory (France), with previous industrial engineering studies at Art et Metiers Institute of Technology (France) and a MSc in advanced materials at Cranfield University (UK). He is currently working as a process simulation engineer at Safran Additive Manufacturing, developing numerical methods to enhance the simulation of additive manufacturing processes.

Yu-Hung Lai OEwaves

Dr. Yu-Hung Lai joined OEwaves in 2019 from Caltech. He has 8 years of experience in whispering gallery mode (WGM) microresonators, lasers, photonics, nonlinear optics, and quantum systems. His research focused on chip-based optical gyroscope, ultranarrow linewidth laser, Rayleigh and Brillouin scattering, optical characterization system design, and photonic integrated circuit development. Dr. Lai's research has generated more than 10 scientific articles.

Scott Sorbel Raytheon

Scott Sorbel has been working in the multiphysics field since 1998, starting off with the FEMLAB software that was an adjunct to MATLAB®. Scott has enjoyed how COMSOL Multiphysics® has flourished into one of the most well-respected, well-used, and well-received multiphysics modeling tools available. He has used the tool in many different ways to solve problems in a wide variety of fields, such as mechanical, electrical, and optical engineering. Currently, Scott is using COMSOL Multiphysics® to solve multiphysics coupling problems, which COMSOL is known for, for a variety of different physics situations.