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


What's new in OptiLayer in 2008 (version 7.21)

  • Powerful design options of OptiLayer (Needle optimization, Gradual evolution) have been further improved.
    • In case of the most complicated design problems with many dozens of design layers some undesirable computational deadlocks happened on rare occasions. Such deadlocks are prevented in the new version. Solving the most complicated design problems can be accomplished even by a designer with a small computational experience.
    • On-line presentation capabilities and interface options of OptiLayer design modes have been further improved. In particular, Active, Quiet and Silent modes have been introduced to graphically illustrate progresses of the Needle optimization and Gradual evolution procedures. In the Active mode screen updates occur often, in the Silent modes screen updates are performed from time to time, and only Evaluation window is displayed in a course of synthesis procedure. The Quiet mode displays new results in the Evaluation window only after each new gradual evolution step, the background of the Evaluation window is grayed in order to underline that screen updates are rare.
    • More logical default settings have been introduced in the Gradual evolution mode of the program. Now only Active and Exclusionary materials are indicated in the list of materials selected by this mode.
    • Thin Layer Removal option now takes into account statuses of design layers. It doesn't affect layers with fixed statuses.
    • Access to the selection of OptiLayer optimization routines is now provided also from the General Information window by a right mouse click in the Refinement field of this window.
    • A new field "Needle Sensitivity" is introduced in the Synthesis Options of OptiLayer. This field allows you to choose between three types of criteria (Relaxed, Standard, and Strict) for terminating needle insertions in the Needle optimization and Gradual evolution procedures. With the Relaxed choice insertions are terminated earlier and with the Strict choice insertions are terminated later than in other situations.
  • Multiple updates have been made to extend potentialities of all OptiLayer evaluation and design modes.
    • The maximum number of angle of incidence values that can be used by OptiLayer software was increased from 99 to 4096.
    • To extend your choices in evaluating spectral characteristics, an opportunity to use the so-called Diabatic scale has been added to the T, R axis of OptiLayer Evaluation windows. This new option can be accessed through the Options->Axis item in the right-click menus of Evaluation windows. The formula for presenting Y-axis values in this scale is as follows: Y = 1 - log10(-log10(T)), i.e. the new scale is a double-logarithmic scale. An advantage of using the new scale is connected with an opportunity to provide a more detailed representation of spectral characteristics in the ranges where T is close to 0 or 1 as well as with a possibility to use almost homogeneous scale in the T range of 0.2-0.8. Plot Engine mode of OptiLayer and Plot Engine stand-alone mode also support the new Diabatic scale.
    • The list of spectral units that can be used by OptiLayer software was essentially extended. Along with the previously used units it is now possible to use also µm-1, THz, GHz, and g-number which is defined as a ratio of a current wavelength value to the reference wavelength value. The latter is specified in the Reference Wavelength field in the Thickness units tab of the Configuration options.
  • To further extend the orientation of OptiLayer software to practical needs, multiple improvements have been done in OptiLayer error analysis modes.
    • User-defined targets (UDT) have been added to the list of characteristics that can be used by the Error Analysis, Layers Inhomogeneity, Systematic Deviations, and Interface Layers modes of OptiLayer.
    • Psi and Delta ellipsometric angles also can be used in these modes as well as in the Tabulate command in order to estimate an influence of various factors on ellipsometric measurements.
    • When presenting final results of the Error Analysis mode, the Error Analysis window now displays also the E(dMF) value which is calculated as a mathematical expectation of deviations of perturbed spectral characteristics form a theoretical ones when an ensemble of designs with random errors is generated. Deviations of spectral characteristics are calculated using the same merit function as was specified for the examined theoretical design.
    • Layer Sensitivity mode of OptiLayer has become much more flexible and powerful than before. It is now possible to specify levels of relative or absolute errors in thicknesses of layers of different materials for this type of error analysis. Layer Sensitivity chart window displays merit function deviation corresponding to a layer with maximum (100%) sensitivity. This new feature allows the user to compare multiple theoretical designs in order to select the most practical one.
    • Surface Roughness option of OptiLayer was extended so as to allow you to perform roughness analysis in the case of designs with absorbing layer materials.
  • Opportunities of unique computational manufacturing options of OptiLayer have been further extended.
    Now it is possible to simulate deposition processes that employ mixed monitoring strategies in which some layers are deposited using optical monitoring while other layers are deposited using quartz crystal monitoring or monitoring by time. You can specify levels of thickness errors for those layers that are deposited using quartz crystal or time monitoring. For layers deposited using optical monitoring all major factors responsible for production errors can be simulated.
  • Essential improvements and additions were made in Export and Import options of all programs of OptiLayer software family.
    • The list of OptiLayer export options has been extended by adding export to the Light Tools illumination software package (Optical Research Associates, see
    • It is now possible to import all Perkin Elmer spectrophotometric files including all types of binary format files and ASCII format files.
    • Import of compressed JCAMP-DX files and multi-block JCAMP-DX files is also supported.
    • Import of files of all major types (Varian, Perkin Elmer, Woollam, JCAMP-DX, X,Y files) has become much more flexible than before. During import operations it is now possible to select between Append, Overwrite and Overwrite current page options.
  • Several new features are aimed at extending presentation capabilities of various programs of OptiLayer software family.
    • In OptiLayer the "Thickness" tab is added to the Refractive Index Profile window. Using this tab the user can represent design layer thicknesses in a bar diagram form. Optical or physical thickness representations are chosen according to the Configuration menu settings.
    • In the Status bar of the Evaluation window of OptiLayer more information is now provided. Layer material abbreviation, layer number and layer thickness of a current layer are indicated when a mouse pointer is moving over a design bar.
    • In OptiRE the "Normalize Errors" button is added to the Thickness Errors window. Using this button one can represent thickness errors in the form of a sum of systematic and random components. The representation is performed so that an average level of random errors is equal to zero.
  • OptiLayer catalogs of substrate data files have been updated based on the most recent data from all major manufacturers.
    • Schott Glass, Ohara, Hoya catalogs have been updated according to the most recent information available.
    • Sumita Glass catalog has been added to the OptiLayer Catalog directory.
    • Substrate data files include information on substrate extinction coefficients that are calculated based on internal transmittance data.
  • Layer Material Catalog has been added to all OptiLayer modules.
    92 files collected from different publications are currently in Layer Material database. Some of layer materials (for example, TiO2) have optical properties dependent on deposition conditions and other factors. In any case we recommend to perform layer characterization with OptiChar instead of using Layer Material catalog data.
  • Recently introduced convenient features of OptiLayer software automatically generate comments associated with Save commands of OptiLayer software family.
    These comments have become more informative in the new version. In particular, the information about used target and color target is now automatically provided when a design is saved in OptiLayer, the information about used measurement data file is automatically generated when layer model is saved in OptiChar and OptiRE and when design structure is saved in OptiRE.
  • Capabilities of the OptiChar Characterization mode have been essentially extended.
    • Before it was possible to determine substrate extinction coefficient only if both transmittance and reflectance measurement data were available for the spectral range of interest. It is now possible to perform a search for substrate extinction coefficient in the absence of reflectance measurement data when transmittance data for several different angles of incidence are available. This innovation is essential for substrate characterization in situations when substrate reflectance cannot be measured reliably.
    • Another improvement has been introduced for thin film characterization based on ellipsometric data. It is now possible to activate HW, QW, and IW spectral points in the Data Fitting window using the right click menu of this window. Investigation of ellipsometric data at these points provides information about the presence of thin film bulk and surface inhomogeneity.
    • Measurement correction options in Characterization and Refinement menu items of OptiChar are now hidden by default. They can be displayed in respective dialogs either by using a special check in the Options dialog of the Characterization menu or by using a button at  Characterization and Refinement dialog windows.
  • Reverse engineering capabilities of OptiLayer software have been further extended and perfected.
    • A reliability of the global minimum search in the Systematic Shift option has been essentially increased due to the implementation of a more sophisticated search procedure in the case of wide search areas.
    • Analogous improvements have been introduced in the Systematic Errors option.
    • In the Arrange Materials option of OptiRE a new button "From OptiLayer" has been added. This button enables arranging layer material abbreviations in OptiRE in the same way as it was done in OptiLayer program.
    • Measurement correction options in the menu items of the Solve menu of OptiRE are now hidden by default. They can be displayed in respective dialogs either by using a setting in the Options dialog of the Solve menu or by using a button at  Solve menu dialog windows.
  • A new unique feature of OptiLayer software is Automation.
    This feature is now implemented in the OptiRE module of OptiLayer software. It allows using OptiRE from external control software in a user-specified way. In the new version more OptiRE functions are added to the Automation interface. It is now possible to perform Normalization of Thickness Errors, to evaluate spectral characteristics taking into account current RE model, to set initial correction factors, to load materials from Layer Material database and to specify material abbreviations.
  • New features of editing and printing options make using OptiLayer even more convenient.
    • The Color Printing option is active by default in the new version because color printers are widely used now.
    • A full revision of the OptiLayer Target editor has been performed in order to provide the most reliable and fast switching between the Angular and Spectral modes of OptiLayer in cases of large numbers of spectral points and angle of incidence values.
    • Delete buttons are added to Angles/Pages and Wavelength/Pages editors to make respective editing operations more flexible.
    • The improved Copy/Paste operations automatically convert numerical data to the Decimal Separator mode used by Windows programs. This guarantees reliable Copy/Paste operations at computers using comma as a decimal separator.
    • A new powerful feature Generator is introduced in the Target editor. This feature allows you to specify spectral targets consisting of a series of linear functions in extremely effective way.
    • A specialized version of target generator aimed at ultra-fast applications has been added. It can be invoked with "GD/GDD" button of the Target Editor.
  • New interface features have been introduced in all programs of OptiLayer software family in order to maintain the most convenient and up-to-date level of their interfaces.
    • Recent Problems menu item is added to the Files menus of all programs in order to provide a fast access to previously used Problem Directories.
    • Delete and Clone operations are added to the Problem Directory dialog box. These operations allow direct managing of OptiLayer Problem directories without using of Windows Explorer.
    • You are now able to use Network names as names of OptiLayer Root Directories. To activate this feature it is necessary to expand the group Network in the Browse dialog of the Problem directory window.
    • Improved resizing of windows has been introduced in the new version. Now windows snap to edges of nearby windows also during resizing operations and not only during moving of windows as before.
    • New versions  provide an improved management of locations of exported and imported files. OptiLayer software remembers a specified location if it is different from a current Problem directory. This location is automatically specified when the same type of export or import operations is invoked again. OptiLayer treats a current Problem directory as a default location and doesn't store it. When Problem directory is changed, OptiLayer uses a new one as a new default storage location.
  • Auto update feature are implemented. Auto update option is located in the Help submenu and is enabled by default. If Internet connection is available and current firewall settings allow to contact OptiLayer web site, OptiLayer programs will check for available updates once a month. If an update is available, you will be informed what versions are released and whether new passwords are required. Optionally new update can be downloaded to the Desktop directly by OptiLayer programs. If necessary, auto update feature can be disabled.


Easy to start

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...

Docs / Support

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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