In a boost to UK photonics researchers, Lumerical Solutions (Vancouver, BC, Canada) has donated ten licenses for its nanophotonics simulation software to ScotGrid, which is one of the largest grid computing sites in the United Kingdom. The donated licenses will enable photonics researchers at academic institutions to perform large-scale simulations of devices such as silicon-photonics components, solid-state light emitters, and thin-film solar cells.
The licenses are for Lumerical Solutions' FDTD Solutions Engine (the company's finite-difference time-domain nanophotonics modeling software). They will allow researchers to run their simulations at no additional cost on any of ScotGrid's 1,900 processing cores.
ScotGrid can be used by any UK academic researcher who has applied for access. After an application has been approved, prototyping nanophotonic components using ScotGrid begins by first setting up the simulation file using FDTD Solutions on the user's local machine. Once the design file has been prepared, it is submitted to ScotGrid where one of the ten donated Engine licenses simulates the performance of the device on as many processing cores as the user specifies.
Already getting started
"The donated FDTD Solutions Engine licenses from Lumerical have been easily integrated into our grid middleware and the first users are already starting to reap the rewards of the large computing resources on offer at ScotGrid," said Douglas McNab, the deputy technical coordinator of the ScotGrid facility in Glasgow, Scotland.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow are working with Lumerical's software in conjunction with ScotGrid. "A large number of users in our department rely on FDTD Solutions as an integral tool to conduct research in a wide range of fields, including biophotonics, terahertz photonics, and optoelectronics," said Marc Sorel, a lecturer in the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering. "As users of FDTD Solutions begin to work on more complicated three-dimensional models, the ability to run large-scale FDTD jobs on ScotGrid has enabled us to accelerate our research efforts."
The Nano Research Group at the University of Southampton (Southampton, England) is another group making use of the Lumerical software running on ScotGrid. "We use FDTD Solutions to explore how optical integrated circuits composed of photonic nanowires and photonic crystals can be applied to various technologies of industrial interest, including optical interconnects, logic switches, sensing, illumination, and display technologies," said Harold Chong, a lecturer in the School of Electronics and Computer Science.