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Knowledge Base

paraview logo_zoom30Learn how ParaView can be used to create advanced visualizations of Lumerical simulation data.







Lumerical's software provide a variety of built in data visualization functions, including line, image and vector plots. While these functions are sufficient for the majority of data analysis, there may be situations that require more sophisticated tools. ParaView is one such tool. ParaView is an open-source, multi-platform data analysis and visualization application. ParaView users can quickly build visualizations to analyze their data using qualitative and quantitative techniques. For additional information, please visit


Note: Technical support for ParaView

Lumerical does not provide technical support for Paraview. Please consult the ParaView website to access their documentation and other technical resources.


Introductory video

This video shows how the vtksave script command can be used to export simulation data from Lumerical's products, and demonstrates how some of the basic ParaView features (including surface plots, clipping and slicing planes, contours, and glyphs) can be used to create sophisticated visualizations of simulation data.




Tips: ParaView and .vtk files

Datasets with non-spatial parameters

Lumerical datasets are used to store attributes (eg. electric field) as a function of both spatial (x,y,z) and non-spatial parameters (eg. frequency, time, voltage, etc). Attributes can be scalar or vector quantities. Each dataset can contain multiple attributes. The vtksave command converts the Lumerical dataset into a form that can be imported to ParaView (.vtk file). While the Lumerical dataset and .vtk data structures are quite similar, there are a few differences. The most important difference is that the concept of non-spatial parameters is a less fundamental component of the .vtk data structure. This can complicate your analysis, particularly with vector data.

For example, suppose you have a dataset that contains vector electric field data as a function of x,y,z, and frequency (at 50 frequency points). Ideally, this should be recognized as 50 different sets of vector electric field data. Actually, ParaView will interpret it as a single electric field attribute that has 150 vector components (50 frequency points x 3 vector components). It is possible to configure ParaView to interpret this data in a more appropriate way, but the easiest solution is to export datasets that do not have non-spatial parameters. For example, only export from monitors that collect data at a single frequency.


Creating vector plots in ParaView

Use the Glyph filter to create vector plots (as shown in the video). Also, when using Glyphs with large datasets, it may be necessary to disable the 'mask points' option in the Glyph filter.


Example files

The associated files provided above are slightly modified versions of the FDTD Solutions - Plasmonic bullseye example and the DEVICE - Nanobeam PC Electro-optic Modulator example.

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