Optical Systems operating in the terahertz band of the spectrum increasingly find new applications in security, defence and medicine, in addition to the established applications in astronomy.

However, design and modelling of optics in the terahertz band is still rather difficult due the lack of efficient software tools, similar to those commonly used in the visible band.

Dr. Marcin Gradziel from the Department of Experimental Physics is working on MODAL, developed in Maynooth, an extensible design and analysis framework with an ambition of filling this gap.

It integrates a number of different simulational approaches with a modern graphical interface that lends itself to design work.

A key feature of MODAL is its support for High Performance Computing (HPC) resources, such as clusters and shared-memory supercomputers. This allows the increasing availability of HPC to be leveraged to increase the size and complexity of optical systems that can be analysed. One of the current goals is to use HPC to perform efficient analysis-driven optimisation of the design of optical systems.

The development of MODAL is complemented by continually expanding measurement programme in the millimetre-wave end of the terahertz band. It enables experimental verification of the computational predictions, essential for the validation of the existing software, and helps to identify new challenges.