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Laser Modeling

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Buyer's Guide

The ideal place to find suppliers for photonics products: high-quality information, simple and fast, and respects your privacy!

7 suppliers for laser modeling services and software are listed.

Among them:

RP Photonics Consulting GmbH

We have powerful simulation software for modeling various aspects of solid-state lasers, particularly fiber lasers. Also, we offer technical consulting services.

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RP Photonics offers modeling software such as RP Fiber Power for simulating the performance of fiber lasers and amplifiers. For more specific purposes, RP Photonics can develop custom software for you.

Definition: the investigation of phenomena and quantitative relations in lasers, using theoretical models and computational methods

German: Modellierung von Lasern

Categories: lasers, methods, physical foundations

How to cite the article; suggest additional literature

The operation of lasers involves a complicated interplay of many effects, which can affect a variety of important performance parameters. In many cases, it can be vital to obtain a decent understanding of how various effects interact. As it can be very difficult to obtain experimental access to certain key parameters, and a good understanding can be badly needed even before constructing the first prototype, there is often a need to set up a laser model which allows the calculation and testing of certain aspects of the workings of a laser. The activity of constructing models is called modeling (British spelling: modelling). This term may include the process of applying a model.

What a Model is

A model is essentially a mental object which is constructed so that it resembles in some ways the properties of a class of real objects.

Some important aspects of models are the following:

Different models may be used for investigating different aspects of a single laser. As far as possible, such aspects should be separated: a model containing all such aspects, enabling multi-physics simulations, would be complex and difficult to handle, and is needed only where different physical effects interact in an essential way. Figure 1 illustrates how different models can treat the relations between different aspects in a solid-state laser system.

laser modeling

Figure 1: Examples of physical aspects which different laser models can cover.

In any case, the purpose of a laser model should be to serve as a tool to enhance the physical understanding of some aspects of certain lasers (see below).

Uses and Benefits of Laser Models

Laser models can be used to investigate a wide range of aspects. Some examples are:

Possible benefits of laser modeling include:

The main benefits are probably saving a lot of time in the laboratory gaining a deeper insight into the relevant physical mechanisms. The magnitude of such benefits, however, depends strongly on the circumstances. Whereas in some cases (e.g. ultrafast fiber lasers) a laser model may be the essential tool for understanding the principle of operation and the limitations, many other laser devices can be designed on the basis of simpler design rules, which make a sophisticated model obsolete.

Software for Laser Modeling

Laser modeling is very often done with some software, which can perform the required calculations and display or store the results. Software may also help with the construction of a model, with the organization of the data, or with convenient visualizations.

Three-dimensional problems often occur in optics; examples are beam propagation and temperature profiles. Finite-element algorithms are often employed in such situations, but there are also techniques to reduce the effective dimensionality of a model so as to simplify the solution greatly without losing important aspects. For example, the fact can be exploited that many lasers exhibit a close to Gaussian laser beam, so that the laser output calculations can be greatly simplified by assuming the Gaussian profile (with parameters from the analysis of resonator modes) while still properly treating the transverse dependencies of optical intensities and the laser gain. This can speed up the calculations enormously, cut down the usage of memory, and simplify the visualization and further analysis. A similar case in nonlinear optics is the use of mode coupling techniques.

Apart from the numerical core, doing the actual calculations, the quality of the user interface is essential. There are different types of user interfaces, which can be more or less appropriate under different circumstances:

If commercial software with the required features is not available, custom software may be developed. This, however, requires a lot of experience to be efficient, and the poor user interfaces of self-made software often create serious problems. For example, it is difficult to maintain software which requires different versions of source code for different versions of a model and the risk of handling errors can also be very high.

Failing Modeling Exercises

Although laser models can bring extremely valuable benefits, modeling exercises can also fail to produce valid and useful results. Possible causes for such failure include:

A Strategy for Successful Modeling

It is very advisable to use a systematic strategy for modeling. This can be based on, e.g., the following steps:

Curiously, the last step, which should be the most important one, is often forgotten: there are plenty of research papers reporting the construction and perhaps validation of some model, whereas it is not apparent that the model has been used to do some work.


[1]How to Build a Transparent Laser – thoughts about a fundamental problem of laser development and a powerful solution (can also view this as a video)

(Suggest additional literature!)

See also: lasers, laser resonators, rate equation modeling, laser dynamics, pulse propagation modeling, Spotlight article 2006-11-16, Spotlight article 2007-02-26, Spotlight article 2008-11-08

In the RP Photonics Buyer's Guide, 7 suppliers for laser modeling services and software are listed.

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RP Fiber Power – the versatile Fiber Optics Software

An Amazing Tool

RP Fiber Power software

This amazing tool is extremely helpful for the development of passive and active fiber devices.


Watch our quick video tour!

Single-mode and Multi­mode Fibers


Calculate mode properties such as

  • amplitude distributions (near field and far field)
  • effective mode area
  • effective index
  • group delay and chromatic dispersion

Also calculate fiber coupling efficiencies; simulate effects of bending, nonlinear self-focusing or gain guiding on beam propagation, higher-order soliton propagation, etc.

Arbitrary Index Profiles

A fiber's index profile may be more complicated than just a circle:

special fibers

Here, we "printed" some letters, translated this into an index profile and initial optical field, propagated the light over some distance and plotted the output field – all automated with a little script code.

Fiber Couplers, Double-clad Fibers, Multicore Fibers, …

fiber devices

Simulate pump absorption in double-clad fibers, study beam propagation in fiber couplers, light propagation in tapered fibers, analyze the impact of bending, cross-saturation effects in amplifiers, leaky modes, etc.

Fiber Amplifiers

fiber amplifier

For example, calculate

  • gain and saturation characteristics (for continuous or pulsed operation)
  • energy transfers in erbium-ytterbium-doped amplifier fibers
  • influence of quenching effects, amplified spontaneous emission etc.

in single amplifier stages or in multi-stage amplifier systems, with double-clad fibers, etc.

Fiber-optic Telecom Systems

eye diagram

For example,

  • analyze dispersive and nonlinear signal distortions
  • investigate the impact of amplifier noise
  • optimize nonlinear management and the placement of amplifiers

Find out in detail what is going on in such a system!

Fiber Lasers

fiber laser

For example, analyze and optimize the

  • power conversion efficiency
  • wavelength tuning range
  • Q switching dynamics
  • femtosecond pulse generation with mode locking

for lasers based on double-clad fiber, with linear or ring resonator, etc.

Ultrafast Fiber Lasers and Amplifiers

fiber laser

For example, study

  • pulse formation mechanisms
  • impact of nonlinearities and chromatic dispersion
  • parabolic pulse amplification
  • feedback sensitivity
  • supercontinuum generation

Apply any sequence of elements to your pulses!

… and even Bulk Devices

regenerative amplifier

For example, study

  • Q switching dynamics
  • mode-locking behavior
  • impact of nonlinearities and chromatic dispersion
  • influence of a saturable absorber
  • chirped-pulse amplification
  • regenerative amplification

RP Fiber Power is an extremely versatile tool!

Mode Solver

fiber modes

For example, calculate

  • amplitude and intensity profiles
  • effective mode areas
  • cut-off wavelengths
  • propagation constants
  • group velocities
  • chromatic dispersion

All this is calculated with high efficiency!

Beam Propagation

beam propagation

Propagate optical field with arbitrary wavefronts through fibers. These may be asymmetric, bent, tapered, exhibit random disturbances, etc.

See our demo video for numerical beam propagation.

Laser-active Ions

level scheme

Work with the standard gain model, or define your own level scheme!

Can include different ions, energy transfers, upconversion and quenching effects, complicated pumping schemes, etc.

Multiple Pump and Signal Waves, ASE

optical channels

Define multiple pump and signal waves and many ASE channels – each one with its own transverse intensity profile, loss coefficient etc.

The power calculations are highly efficient and reliable.

Simple Use and High Flexibility Combined

For simpler tasks, use convenient forms:

signal parameters

Script code is automatically generated and can then be modified by the user. A powerful script language gives you an unparalleled flexibility!

High-quality Documentation and Competent Support

The carefully prepared comprehensive documentation includes a PDF manual and an interactive online help system.

Competent technical support is provided: the developer himself will help you and make sure that any problem is solved!

Our support is like included technical consulting.

Boost your competence, efficiency and creativity!

  • Stop fishing in the dark! Develop a clear quantitative understanding of your devices.
  • Explore the effects of possible design changes on your desk.
  • That way, get most efficient in the lab.
  • Find optimized solutions efficiently, minimizing time to market.
  • Get new ideas by playing with your models.

Efficiency and success of
R & D are not a matter of chance.

See our detailed description with many case studies!

Contact us to get a quotation!

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