Synopsys' LightTools offer new solutions for lighting systems engineers

June 14, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Electronic design software vendor Synopsys, Inc. has enhanced its LightTools illumination design and analysis software. The software which now has reached the version number 7.3 delivers a variety of new illumination design features in areas such as application-specific design, color quality analysis, LED phosphor modeling, and design management and performance that can help designers work more efficiently, save product development costs and deliver high-performance lighting systems.

The LightTools Street Lighting Utility provides a specialized set of tools that guide users through the process of evaluating, designing and optimizing luminance and illuminance patterns on roadways to meet industry-standard specifications. Key capabilities include:

  • Models complex luminaire designs directly in a roadway lighting configuration;
  • Supports automatic design optimization to help ensure that the design meets industry standards, such as surround ratio and average luminance;
  • Performs fast calculations of perceived light levels on a street for a series of fixtures;
  • Calculates luminance data based on standard observer positions;
  • Displays pass/fail criteria for the design based on industry standards.

LightTools now supports two additional metrics for evaluating a light source's color rendering performance: Color Quality Scale (CQS) and Gamut Area Index (GAI). These metrics are particularly useful for measuring the color quality of LED sources and augment the lighting industry's primary tool, Color Rendering Index (CRI), for evaluating a light source’s saturation and contrast. Both CQS and GAI provide a highly accurate evaluation of light quality for color-critical applications, such as in retail environments.

Enhanced phosphor modeling processes in LightTools help streamline phosphor material manufacturing for solid-state lighting applications. Phosphors are an important part of LED lighting systems because they are used to enhance LED color appearance and brightness. For example, phosphors can be used with an LED to create the warm white color of an incandescent lamp, which can improve the appearance of LED lights in retail and residential settings. LightTools now provides the flexibility to specify phosphor mixture ratios as a percentage by volume or weight. During manufacturing, this simplifies the process of determining phosphor particle concentration and relating model parameters to laboratory procedures.

The LightTools Optical Property Manager helps users more efficiently manage their design data. It provides a central location for assigning and changing optical properties throughout a model, as well as for defining defaults applied to new objects. An optical property in the master list controls