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Donation Enable Nanophotonics Researchers to Perform Large-Scale Simulations of Devices

Published on February 3, 2010 at 7:36 PM

UK academic researchers working in the area of photonics have been given a boost today with the announcement that Vancouver-based Lumerical Solutions, Inc. has donated ten FDTD Solutions Engine licenses to ScotGrid. Scientists are now able to perform large-scale design of devices across a diverse range of applications in biophotonics, display technologies, solar energy, and optical communications, sensing and imaging on one of the largest grid computing facilities in the United Kingdom.

The donated Engine licenses allow researchers in the UK using FDTD Solutions to run, at no additional cost, their simulations efficiently on any of ScotGrid's 1,900 processing cores.

"ScotGrid is delighted to be in partnership with Lumerical to reach new research communities in the field of optics and photonics," according to Douglas McNab, the Deputy Technical Coordinator of the ScotGrid facility in Glasgow. "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." Glasgow, the leading UK grid site, is already involved with existing projects in the UK as part of GridPP and internationally as part of EGEE and WLCG.

"We are excited to be working with ScotGrid to help our UK customers make more timely discoveries and get greater value out of their investment in our simulation products," according to Michael Newland, Lumerical's CEO. "We are very happy to have found such a credible and competent partner as ScotGrid who shares our goal of strengthening UK nanophotonics research."

Researchers at the University of Glasgow are already generating results more rapidly by using Lumerical's FDTD Solutions 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," according to Dr. 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."

As a part of GridPP, ScotGrid is accessible to any UK academic researcher who has applied for access. After their 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 of processing cores as the user specifies.

The Nano Research Group at the University of Southampton is another group that will be making use of the combined capabilities of FDTD Solutions running on ScotGrid. "We use FDTD Solutions to explore how optical integrated circuits composed of photonic nanowires and photonic crystal can be applied to various technologies of industrial interest, including optical interconnects, logic switches, sensing, illumination and display technologies," says Dr. Harold Chong, a lecturer in the School of Electronics and Computer Science. "The potential to run many simulations at the same time on the large computing resources of ScotGrid will have an immense impact on the research productivity of my group."

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