Various simulations of volume-based sources are explored, beginning with an overview of optical design software, the industry that utilizes it, and a procedural outline for source simulation. These simulations are explained from the simplest to most complex methodologies to date. Two basic approximations of the volume-emitter, (1) a tubular surface distribution and (2) a cylindrical volume distribution, that cannot model the asymmetry of the original emitting-volume are considered. Simulation methodologies that rely on mathematical tools are investigated. Using a CCD image of the emission and the inverse Abel transform, a 2D irradiance distribution is transformed into a 3D emitting volume. An algorithm developed to handle asymmetric volume-emitters is discussed, and the results of the simulated arc are compared to its original CCD image. In addition, the geometry of the arc source is modeled into a CAD (Computer Aided Design) program, and optical properties are assigned to its components in the optical/illumination design program. Using the most detailed emitter simulation, an assessment of the source geometry's influence on system output is made. The need for a detailed volume-emitter simulation is demonstrated through system output comparison between those utilizing the most complicated simulation and those using basic surface and volume approximations of the actual emitting-volume.
Software packages capable of simulating complex optical systems have the power to shorten the design process for non-imaging illumination, projection display, and other imaging illumination systems, Breault Research Organization's Advanced Systems Analysis Program (ASAP) and Robert McNeel and Associates' Rhinoceros computer aided design software, together, allow complicated optical systems to be simulated and analyzed. Through the use of Rhinoceros, an optical system can be accurately modeled in a 3D design environment. ASAP is then used to assign optical properties to the Rhinoceros CAD model. After the optical system has been characterized, it can be analyzed and optimized, by way of features specific to the ASAP optical analysis engine. Using this simulation technique, an HID arc source manufactured by Ushio America, Inc. is accurately represented. 2D CCD images are gathered for the source's emitting-volume across its spectral bandwidth. The images are processed within ASAP, via the inverse Abel command, to produce a 3D emitting-volume. This emitting-volume is combined with an accurate model of the source geometry and its optical properties, to finalize a functioning virtual source model. The characterized source is then joined with a simulated optical system for detailed performance analysis: namely, a projection display system.