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OptiLayer:  Your Partner in Design and Post-Production Characterization of Optical Coatings


What's new in OptiLayer in 2007 (version 6.67)

  • Unique design options of OptiLayer software have been further improved.

    • Chart tab added to the History window allows you to observe evolutions of main design parameters (merit function value, number of design layers, design total optical thickness) in a graphical form. Such graphical presentations are useful for choosing practically optimal combination of main design parameters among a series of designs generated by OptiLayer design modes.
    • Chart tab has been also added to the Collection window presenting results of Random optimization mode, a powerful non-local optimization procedure of OptiLayer.
    • Silent mode of OptiLayer design options has been updated. To provide a more effective expenditure of computer time this mode uses less screen updates than before but at the same time provides much more informative screen updates.
    • New options have been introduced in the Gradual Evolution mode. They allow you to specify a value of the merit function relative decrease and a number of subsequent needle optimization steps with merit function decreases below this value that cause a transition to the next step of the gradual evolution procedure.
    • It is now possible to proceed with the gradual evolution procedure starting with the needle optimization step (the corresponding check box is named "Start with Needle Optimization step"). This option can be useful in the case of complicated design problems when computations have been interrupted and you want to resume them after a while.
    • A new automatic version of the Thin Layer Removal procedure has been introduced. This new option further increases OptiLayer capabilities in improving design feasibility.
  • Spline interpolation can be now selected and used for calculating refractive index and extinction coefficient values between spectral points where these material parameters are specified. This option is especially important for accurate calculations of rapidly oscillating spectral characteristics, for example group delay (GD) and group delay dispersion (GDD) characteristics. It also contributes to unprecedented computational capabilities of OptiLayer in solving design problems with GD and GDD targets. Spline interpolation has been also introduced in OptiChar and OptiRE to raise accuracy and speed of computations.
  • A set of pre-production error analysis and computational manufacturing options of OptiLayer provides powerful tools for studying optical coating manufacturability. Essential improvements have been introduced in these options.
    • Pre-production error analysis and manufacturing simulation in the case of monochromatic optical monitoring are now more user-friendly. In the case when these options are called for a design without a monitoring spreadsheet attached to this design, you are proposed to open a dialog for creating a monitoring spreadsheet.
    • The computational manufacturing option with broadband optical monitoring has been additionally accelerated and computational manufacturing experiments can be run hundreds of times faster than real production experiments.
    • In the computational manufacturing option with broadband optical monitoring, a manual control of layer deposition termination instants has been implemented. This option can be used for training technicians operating deposition plants with broadband optical monitoring.
    • Graphical opportunities of all computational manufacturing options have been improved. At the last pages of computational manufacturing dialogs you can choose the "Adjust band..." button to control x-axis limits and to examine results of computational manufacturing experiments in various spectral bands.
  • The list of OptiLayer export options has been essentially extended, and it covers several new widely known software packages:
    • Export to ZEMAX (see option has been implemented. This option consists of 3 dialogs including a general management of ZEMAX Coating files, Dialog with Settings for Thickness export, and Dialog with Settings for Performance table export,
    • Export to Code V Sequence files (*.seq files) (see is now available,
    • Export to FRED optical system modeling package (see (*.frt files),
    • Export to OpTaliX (see multilayer file format (*.otc files),
    • Export to OPTIS SPEOS professional light rendering software package (see
  • To meet various demands and to enhance your  opportunities in the analysis of optical coating for modern applications, multiple improvements have been made in many Analysis options of OptiLayer.
    • Admittance and Electrical Field options of OptiLayer provide now a full support of the angular mode of this program. In the angular mode you can use slider controls of incident angle to analyze admittance and electrical filed distribution inside a coating at various incidence angles. Fast switching between spectral and angular modes of the program is possible with the right-click local menus.
    • In the case of oblique light incidence both Admittance and Field options of OptiLayer allow presenting electrical field distributions simultaneously for the s- and p-polarized light.
    • Digitize function that can be used in several OptiLayer analysis modes is more persistent now. Switching between various analysis windows doesn't close the sub-window of the Digitize function. Using the right click menus it is possible to open several different Digitize functions that will be used in different analysis windows.
    • The ability to introduce in chart windows several user-defined plots corresponding to a specified user-defined target (UDT) is added. This feature is useful, for example, when it is necessary to observe spectral wavelength dependencies corresponding to a specified UDT at several incidence angles.
  • OptiLayer catalogs of substrate data files have been essentially extended. Now they include Hoya and Ohara glasses as well as data files with optical parameters of the most essential metals according to the data presented in Palik's handbook. These catalogs can be accessed from all programs of the OptiLayer software family using the Catalog options in the File menus. New multi-select options allow you to select a subset of files that should be transferred to the working directory. A drop down database list allows you to limit your choice to data files of only one specific collection (Schott, Hoya, etc.).
  • Graphical capabilities of all OptiLayer programs have been further improved.
    • Chart zooming can be performed with the left mouse button while panning (adjusting of a plot inside a chart window) can be performed using the right mouse button.
    • Exporting of chart windows to new formats has been implemented. New formats include PDF, PostScript, XML. In the Export Dialog of the Chart Export option the user can find a variety of picture and data formats covering all widely used formats.
    • Because of the increased power of modern personal computers the HiRes option (high resolution plotting of graphs) in the Evaluation and Analysis windows is now True by default.
  • Following multiple suggestions of the OptiLayer users the role of comments in all programs of OptiLayer software family has been increased.
    • The Save Design operation in OptiLayer has now additional settings Append N, Append MF and Append TOT. These settings allow you to automatically append information about number of design layers, merit function value, and design total optical thickness to a design name. Information about these parameters and about specific materials assigned to design material abbreviations is included in the Comment field.
    • In OptiChar, when thin film optical parameters are saved to the Layer Materials database or a layer model is saved to the Layer Model database, respective comments are automatically generated. These comments include information about a thin film model used by the OptiChar characterization procedure, a thin film thickness found in the course of characterization, and parameters related to surface roughness and bulk inhomogeneity if these effects were taken into account by a thin film model.
    • Analogous comments are automatically created by OptiRE when OptiRE models or data files are saved to respective databases.
    • Comments to a Problem directory as a whole can be also entered. Comments are displayed at the Problem Directory dialog and can be of unlimited size.
  • In the View menus of OptiChar and OptiRE new "Partial Discrepancies" windows have been introduced. These windows allow you to perform a detailed analysis of discrepancies between model and measurement data. In OptiChar HW, QW, IW spectral points that are useful for studying film inhomogeneity can be displayed at the Partial Discrepancies window. To support a Multi-Scan mode of OptiRE a new "Scan Discrepancies" window has been added. In the Multi-Scan mode when measurement data files for many coating layers are analyzed simultaneously this window allows you to examine partial values of discrepancy function components estimating closeness between model and measurement data for separate layers.
  • Unique reverse engineering capabilities of OptiRE module of OptiLayer software have been further extended. OptiRE is the only thin film software that can analyze traces of recorded monochromatic monitoring data in order to extract information about optical thicknesses of actually deposited coating layers. Monitoring signal can be transmittance or reflectance and for each coating layer it is required to know a signal at a start of a layer deposition, signal extrema values recorded during a layer deposition, and a signal at termination instant. These data are stored in data files of a special Response database. The Response Processing option in the Solve menu allows determining optical thicknesses of those coating layers for which at least one signal extremum was registered during layer depositions. The algorithm used by this unique option is described in:
  • OptiLayer is the only thin film software supporting Automation, a new advanced feature that allows using thin film software from external control software in a user-specified way. Currently this feature is developed for OptiRE, and this module of OptiLayer software can be used for automating of coating production. In the new version, the Automation interface has been extended. It has become possible to save any window in various bitmap formats programmatically. It is also possible to control OptiRE options and some axis settings of the Fitting Window (axis limits, visibility, titles). The Discrepancy read-only property has been added to the interface. This property allows reading a discrepancy value that was obtained in the frame of specified reverse engineering model. Negative discrepancy values are supplied in situations when model discrepancy value can not be calculated for some reason (incomplete model has been specified, not all data have been loaded, etc.).
  • For your convenience many new features have been introduced in editing options and data file specifications: 
    • The Column Editor allows now generation of incrementing or decrementing sequences of letters, like A, B, C, D, etc.
    • Data file names can have up to 128 characters (before a length of a name was limited by 64 characters).
    • A new Summary window has been added to the Design Editor. It presents information about total thickness of all coating layers and about total thicknesses of all layers of each particular material used in a design.
    • In OptiChar, more informative names for layer materials are used. In the case when a layer material file has been loaded before starting a characterization procedure the name of a loaded file is used to name results of a characterization procedure. In the previous versions the name was changed to "Calculated" as soon as computations started.
    • In OptiRE more information is reflected in the General information window (information related to inhomogeneous models).
  • To maintain the highest level of software interface that is one of the distinguishing features of OptiLayer software family, new interface options have been introduced in all modules of OptiLayer software:
    • The algorithm for window positioning at the screen has been further improved. Now a new window is placed at the screen without overlapping with already available windows if this is still possible.
    • The "Auto Tile Windows" command has been added to the Windows menu. It allows you to arrange windows automatically in a tiled manner.
    • Problem Directory dialog and Select Directory dialog of the File Transfer option have been updated and are now resizable. This is convenient for users working with large numbers of problem directories.
    • The mouse pointer display has been essentially improved in order to reflect a current state of the program (such as idle, computing, busy).
    • Keyboard shortcuts have been revised and improved. Now it is possible to use Ctrl+Enter key as a shortcut to the OK button at modeless dialogs, Alt+Enter key can be used as a shortcut to the Apply button in the windows where this button exists.
    • In OptiRE a keyboard navigation has been added to the Multi-Scan Fitting window. Now Left/Right arrows allow to move from a current layer to a previous/next one. PhUp and PgDown keys change a current selection for 5 layers to the left and right. Home and End keys allow selecting first and last layers respectively.
  • Hardware protection of OptiLayer, OptiChar, and OptiRE is more user-friendly now. Detaching of a dongle doesn't cause immediate program termination. You are asked to attach a hardware key. When the key is attached, the operation of the program is resumed without loss of information. This new feature is especially convenient for notebook users. Transportation of a notebook usually requires detaching of a key and it is easy to forget to attach it back when starting a notebook at a new location. Now the loss of a program state and related information in such situations is impossible.

What's new in OptiLayer in 2007 (version 6.11)

  • One of the major trends in the development of OptiLayer software is supplementing its unique design capabilities with a number of special options aimed at the most successful practical implementation of theoretical designs. OptiLayer is the first thin film software that allows you to automatically generate monitoring spreadsheets for several monochromatic monitoring strategies. One of these strategies is a famous strategy based on the choice of the most sensitive monitoring wavelength (Strategy 1). Another one is a quite new strategy aimed at minimizing a cumulative effect of errors in previously deposited layers (Strategy 2). One more strategy allows an optical coating engineer to combine the main advantages of direct and indirect optical monitoring (Strategy 3). It explores a new termination level correction algorithm providing an entirely independent control of all coating layers when direct optical monitoring is applied.
  • Computational manufacturing is a powerful tool for studying optical coating manufacturability. OptiLayer is the only thin film software that allows you to perform computational manufacturing experiments with the most adequate simulation of a real production environment. In the new version of OptiLayer software a coating production with monochromatic optical monitoring can be simulated. The option simulating coating production with broadband optical monitoring has been essentially improved. OptiLayer can simulate instability of deposition rates of optical coating materials, fluctuations of refractive indices of coating layers inside a deposition chamber from their theoretical values, bulk inhomogeneity of coating layers, time delays of a shutter terminating layer depositions, etc. An optical coating engineer can specify levels of random errors in measured reflectance and transmittance data, large scale fluctuations of measurement data in time, calibration drifts of monitoring devices, etc.
  • Analysis and synthesis options of the new OptiLayer version can be used for various X-ray applications. This ability is provided due to multiple modifications including the increase of numbers of digits in wavelength entry fields, possibility to specify lower limits than before for wavelength spectral regions, introduction of new units (keV units) for specifying spectral regions, etc.
  • OptiLayer options aimed at improving design manufacturability are further developed. These options include now a new automated Thin Layer Removal mode. It enables you to automatically remove all thin layers from a coating design at an expense of allowed increase of merit function value or optionally all layers with thicknesses lower than a specified threshold thickness value.
  • Plot Engine, a special presentation module of OptiLayer software, has been redesigned and a new much more powerful charting tool Plot Engine II has been introduced. At the same time a complete backward comparability of the interface and file formats is provided. The new Plot Engine option has two modes, Old style and New style plotting modes. In the Old style mode this option uses exactly the same charting approaches as in all previous OptiLayer versions. In the New style mode much more diverse plotting capabilities are accessible.
  • Taking into account growing importance of coatings for ultra-short pulse applications and telecommunication applications new and quite unique options have been introduced in OptiRE, the reverse engineering module of OptiLayer software. These options allow you to process group delay (GD) and group delay dispersion (GDD) measurement data and to apply all reverse engineering modes of OptiRE. An ability to analyze GD and GDD data has been introduced also in OptiChar, the optical characterization module of OptiLayer software.
  • For your convenience some databases and corresponding menu items have been reorganized. Common databases Substrate and Incident Medium, Design and BS Coating are now represented as single databases. In connection with this reorganization the Load button has now additional functions when necessary. Additional functions are also present at the right-click menu of the Database dialog.
  • A new Exit medium functionality has been added to OptiLayer. Now it is possible to specify the Exit medium at the substrate back side different from the Incident medium. This function can be found as an additional option of the Load button in the Substrate/Incident/Exit Database or in the corresponding right-click menu.
  • A new functionality has been added to editor dialogs. It is now possible to edit almost any numerical data field using mouse and spinner controls. This simplifies editing data in situations when a step-by-step variation of numerical data is desirable or when the keyboard is temporarily unavailable. Substrate extinction coefficient can be now expressed and edited in terms of Internal Transmittance or Optical Density values. A special combo-box at the header of the respective spreadsheet allows the user to select a desired representation.
  • OptiLayer interface features are permanently perfected. OptiLayer provides a multi-monitor support which means that you can simultaneously use several monitors and distribute desktop windows between these monitors. In the new OptiLayer version, coordinates of all windows are saved and correctly restored in a multi-monitor layout. A new feature provides an automatic snapping of windows which allows the user to arrange windows at the desktop much easier than before.
  • Multiple improvements have been introduced in Import and Export options of all modules of OptiLayer.
    • The File Transfer option supports now a simultaneous transfer of multiple data files. It is possible to select several files with a mouse using Ctrl shift in the Data Transfer dialog and transfer these files to a current Problem directory in one mouse click.
    • A possibility to import any type of reflectance from a coating back side has been added to the list of possible choices in the Varian import option.
    • The X, Y data and JCAMP-DX import windows are now resizable. The list of windows is also resizable.
    • Graphical export options support a new TIFF graphics format (TIFF - Tagged Image File Format).
    • A new Multi-Scan import option of OptiRE allows you to load multiple scans of measurement data from the Measurements database or from external X, Y files in one operation.
  • In OptiChar characterization module of OptiLayer software new models for the film refractive index and extinction coefficient (n(lambda) and k(lambda) models) were essentially improved and made much more flexible than in the previous OptiChar version. These models which do not require parametrization of complicated refractive index and extinction coefficient wavelength dependencies can be now applied in wide spectral regions from UV to IR spectral bands. It is achieved by additional options allowing you to specify the number of grid points to be used in these models.
  • All modules of OptiLayer software support Windows Vista. OptiLayer automatically detects Vista and stores data in accordance with Vista requirements. The files storage style is changed from "c:\Program Files\OptiLayer" to "C:\Users\Public\Documents\OptiLayer." For Windows Vista comparability Help system is converted to CHM format.
  • In the new version, numerous improvements have been made to improve the hardware effectiveness. In particular, the improved performance has been achieved for computers with AMD processors supporting SSE3 instructions set. The computational speed has been increased up to 20%. For notebook computers, a better power management has been provided. It is safe now to close a lid or to set a standby mode with OptiLayer programs running. A startup time of all programs has been improved because unnecessary network search for dongles has been disabled and now it is performed only if a local key is not available.


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Icons 100x100 1OptiLayer provides user-friendly interface and a variety of examples allowing even a beginner to effectively start to design and characterize optical coatings.        Read more...

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Icons 100x100 2Comprehensive manual in PDF format and e-mail support help you at each step of your work with OptiLayer.



Icons 100x100 3If you are already an experienced user, OptiLayer gives your almost unlimited opportunities in solving all problems arising in design-production chain. Visit our publications page and challenge page.


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