Why Choose FRED

FRED is a full-featured optical systems design and analysis package. The sophisticated CAD interface allows users to design the full opto-mechanical system in one place rather than designing the optical and mechanical structures separately. The merging of these two disciplines removes one of the bottle necks in the design phase; it also reduces the chance of problems that can occur when the mechanical engineer creates a supporting design without taking into account the optical footprint of the optical system.

For engineering departments that use a dedicated CAD program, FRED is able to import and export IGES and STEP files.

Similarly, FRED has been designed to be very communicable with other optical design programs and can import lens prescriptions files from Zemax, OSLO, and Code V.

Furthermore, FRED is one of the only optical engineering software of its kind that can propagate coherent fields. This allows for export/import opportunities with photonics simulation software tools (that use algorithms such as FDTD). This is necessary when modeling small-scale optical structures such as CCD chips, integrated optic waveguides etc.

For automating processes, FRED has a powerful scripting language implemented directly into the interface allowing even the novice programmer to quickly and easily write scripts to automate calculations or structure creation. Additionally, through FRED’s COM interface the software can be controlled by, or control an external program such as Microsoft Excel, or Matlab.

To speed things up FRED takes advantage of today’s multi-core computing power and uses multi-threading for a significantly quicker calculation. FRED Optimum is available as a native 64 bit version which further decreases calculation time.

FRED not only speeds up the design phase, but can also be used to improve existing designs to give you the necessary competitive edge. The multi-parameter optimizer included in FRED Optimum uses a sophisticated and flexible hybrid optimization algorithm that has been proven to create unparalled designs. For more information on the optimizer please click here.

An important property of a simulation tool is ability of the engineer to be able to trust the result. Erroneous results can come from approximations associated with the algorithms used in the software, but also of importance is that the user is able to understand what they are actually simulating with the software.

FRED has been used by Photon Engineering for over 10 years in their contract design work for a wide variety of projects and applications including:

  • Observatory spectrometer
  • Solar concentrator
  • Beam shaping optics for visible and IR
  • Observatory baffle redesign
  • TIR illumination lens
  • LCD projector reflector
  • Particle detector optics
  • Telescope relay optics
  • Projector optics
  • Phase-shifting interferometer
  • Star tracker baffle
  • Head-mounted display
  • Barcode illuminator
  • Visible/IR laser welding optics
  • Human Tissue Scanner for vein analysis
  • Phone camera lens
  • LED-based displays
  • Head-mounted surgical illuminator
  • Fluorescence Detection Systems
  • Telescope ghost and stray light analysis

A FRED model can accurately represent the “real world.” FRED has extensive libraries of optical elements, materials and sources allowing you to model exactly what you need.

FRED uses non-sequential raytracing which is sometimes referred to as "physical" raytracing because the rays propagate in a way that isn’t falsely constrained by a predetermined order of intersections. Some lens design programs use sequential ray-tracing which provides a good approximation – but has significant limitations.

Surface scattering is often a critical problem and has to be modeled with care. FRED has multiple validated scatter models for surfaces commonly found in optical structures. Additionally, some optical engineering software approximates the shapes of surfaces. These approximations are sufficient for mechanical design, but not in optics.

Furthermore, FRED is one of the easiest to use optical engineering software packages available with an integrated tutorial system and dedicated technical support. FRED also has multiple diagnostic tools for the user to understand the calculated simulation data which can be used to minimize the chance of user error.

Investing in a new optical design software package is not only a financial investment but also a time investment. Optical software is complex and daunting at first look. However FRED is one of the easiest and quickest raytracing packages to learn with its intuitive interface and vast learning resources.

FRED comes with a comprehensive integrated help that includes descriptions and articles on any functionality that you need to use. There are multiple tutorials of various skill levels and topics and have embedded movies for you to watch the GUI operation in cases where the instructions are more involved.

Photon Engineering supports all of this in many ways. There are frequent webinars describing new features of latest versions, and also teaching webinars on a variety of optical engineering topics such as Stray Light analysis, illumination engineering etc.

There are also intensive tutorials and courses held regularly to help you not only learn the software but to become an expert in your field.

Finally, expert technical support is provided by both Photon Engineering and Technix by CBS.

All of this minimizes the time it takes before the new user can be comfortable using FRED for their own designs.

FRED is the most flexible software of its type and can be used for an incredibly diverse range of problems making it a great value investment. Not only that, but FRED is in most cases cheaper than its competitors. In some cases a permanent license of FRED costs less than a 1 year lease of our competitor’s product.

Furthermore, FRED doesn’t require multiple versions or add-ons that boost the purchase price up. FRED has only two versions, FRED Regular, and FRED Optimum. The differences being that FRED Optimum has an optimizer, is available as a native 64-bit version, and can access up to 16 cores.

We believe that a permanent license is a more attractive option than a lease. When a lease has expired you no longer have access to your data files. With FRED, you won’t have this problem.

Support for FRED beyond the first year costs much lower than the industry standard and allows you access to our technical support team for help and all new releases. FRED is being improved constantly and has two major releases a year with many new feature additions and algorithm improvements making continuing FRED’s Support contract great value.

FRED can be used for an incredibly wide variety of applications such as:

  • Observatory spectrometer
  • Solar concentrator
  • Beam shaping optics for visible and IR
  • Observatory baffle redesign
  • TIR illumination lens
  • LCD projector reflector
  • Particle detector optics
  • Telescope relay optics
  • Projector optics
  • Phase-shifting interferometer
  • Star tracker baffle
  • Head-mounted display
  • Barcode illuminator
  • Visible/IR laser welding optics
  • Human Tissue Scanner for vein analysis
  • Phone camera lens
  • LED-based displays
  • Head-mounted surgical illuminator
  • Fluorescence Detection Systems
  • Telescope ghost and stray light analysis

You may be looking to purchase an optical engineering package for a specific problem that you currently have. However, you will be able to use FRED for almost anything that might come up in the future.

FRED uses the tested and proven method of Gaussian beam decomposition for propagating coherent fields through opto-mechanical systems by complex raytracing. This technique allows for general modeling of coherent fields and makes it possible to simulate laser systems, interferometers, holographic systems, and even some specific applications of partial coherence.

FRED is one of the only optical engineering software packages that can do this. FRED allows for export/import of data to/from other simulation packages that are used for microscopic designs. Examples of these types of software can be general FDTD based propagation software, laser design software, or waveguide / fiber simulation software.

FRED can talk to all of them.

FRED is the proven opto-mechanical analysis package for performing accurate stray light calculations and provides engineers with a complete toolbox of stray light utilities.

Accurate "real-world" specification can be accomplished by using the 13+ surface and volume scatter models, 18 material definition types (including real and imaginary refractive index values) and 7 coating types. These physical properties can be applied to any geometrical object in the model to produce realistic simulations of light interaction.

For diagnostics, FRED’s visual interface allows instant model feedback such as scatter model parameterization verification through 2D or 3D angle and B-B0 plots and total integrated scatter (TIS) calculations. After a raytrace FRED can compile a list of scatter and ghost paths from source to a specified detector, and these paths can be re-drawn to the 3D view for visualization. Additionally, these raytrace paths can be interrogated using any of FRED’s built in or user-customized analysis routines by simple application of ray path filters.

An effective optical design and analysis program must not only have the proper tools available, the user must be able to accurately and confidently use those tools in practice. FRED’s combination of usability and accuracy make it the industry standard for stray light analysis.

For university professors and students of dedicated university research groups Photon Engineering proudly makes its FRED available for student use in the classroom and for thesis/dissertation work.

We believe that FRED is perfect for universities. Its flexibility means that it can be used for a wide variety of research applications across multiple departments. Its ease of use makes it very suitable for classroom teaching in general optics.

Photon Engineering regularly host courses on various topics in optical engineering. These intensive courses often span two or three days and are hosted by experts in their respective fields. These courses are not software specific (no software programs are used during the class), but aim to educate the attendee on the language, science, theory, techniques, and calculations involved.

FRED is a low cost option with no limitation on capability, is a permanent license with no necessary add-ons and low support costs. Furthermore, university researchers are entitled to discounts on software licenses.