The interactive FDTD toolboxThe iFDTD is a software made for fast and easy electrodynamic simulations. Its biggest strength lies in the visualization of electrodynamic effects like total internal reflection, light propagation in photonic crystals etc. Detailed tutorials are given as well as some videos made with the toolbox.

Enhancing Learning Experience

Problems in Electrodynamics lately turned one year old. Still in its infancy, the site was used by thousands of students around the world to understand electrodynamics. This made us very proud and motivated to widen the scope of the site even further. In addition to the problems in the respective categories and the blog section that mainly covers research-related topics, the brand new educational tools section provides a new home for software projects that may help to understand and explain electromagnetism. The first project along this line is the interactive FDTD toolbox that will be introduced shortly. If you have coded something that you think belongs here, please feel free to contribute!

Easy and Fast Electromagnetic Simulations - the iFDTD

FDTD stands for finite-difference time-domain and is a method to fully simulate the electromagnetic field. The method is widely used among scientists. The iFDTD stands out of the different implementations since it makes it possible to fastly design and simulate two-dimensional situations. Its download, tutorials and some nice videos can be found in the section of the iFDTD Toolbox. Note that the genuine contribution of the toolbox is made by Sören Schmidt who spends numerous hours to program and improve the software and we cannot thank him enough to make his program public.

The workflow of the iFDTD is straight forward: define a geometry, define a source and simulate. One of the most useful options is the direct videos output. An example can be seen on the right where a photonic crystal is used as a waveguide splitter.

The scope of the toolbox is mainly educational. But of course, this does not mean that it may not be used for research. For instance, in Phys. Rev. Lett 96 (PRL, arXiv), Schomerus and Hentschel showed that the reflection of a beam at the circumference of a sphere does not follow the "usual" reflection law where incident and outgoing angle coincide because of the Goos-Hänchen-Shift. Such a result can be readily obtained using the iFDTD as shown below:

Non-ray optic reflection of a Gaussian beam at a cylinder calculated with the iFDTD. The white line corresponds to the "classical" reflection law path of the light - the difference is obvious.

We hope that the iFDTD will be as useful to you as it already is for us in research and education. If you have any suggestions, would like to comment or even extend the toolbox, feel free to contact us at, on facebook or google+.

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