OpenMaXwell Reference Manual

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General description

Until 2013, OpenMaXwell was distributed under the name OpenMaX. In order to avoid confusion with another popular software, OpenMAX, it was renamed in 2014.

Graphical electromagnetics platform

OpenMaXwell is a graphical electromagnetics platform for personal computers running under Windows XP and Vista. Older Windows versions were not tested, but should not provide any problems.

The OpenMaXwell platform provides a number of electromagnetic solvers using numeric, semi-analytic, and analytic methods to solve electromagnetic problems. Advanced tools allow visualization of field solutions such as vector plots and animation to enhance understanding of the solution.


The semi-analytic Maxwell solver of OpenMaXwell is an improved, user-friendly version of the  MMP code for computational electrodynamics and for electrostatics. Note that the Multiple Multipole Program (MMP) is the most general implementation of the Generalized Multipole Technique (GMT). The MMP solver can handle various problems: Electro- and magnetostatic, scattering, guided waves, resonators, structures with periodic symmetries such as Photonic Crystals (PhCs - including PhC resonators and waveguides) and gratings, mode coupling, and waveguide discontinuities.

Predefined Finite Difference scheme PFD

The Predefined FD (PFD) solver is based on the Yee FDTD leap-frog scheme for electrodynamics in time domain. It handles 2D and 3D cases with PEC, PMC, periodic, and UPML boundaries. Fourier transforms for the analysis of time-harmonic cases are included. The corresponding results may easily be compared with MMP results.

Analytic solutions

In simple cases, the user can take advantage of the formula interpreter contained in OpenMaXwell for obtaining analytic solutions. Analytic solutions are helpful for testing the accuracy and reliability of numeric and semi-analytic methods.

Complex Problems

OpenMaXwell is prepared to tackle difficult computational electromagnetics problems, such as optimizations and inverse scattering. For these tasks, OpenMaXwell can be driven by so-called directives and linked with external codes.

Advanced animations

Finally, the directives of OpenMaXwell are useful for advanced animations.


Responsible for this web page:  Ch. Hafner, Computational Optics Group, IEF, ETH, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland

Last update 17.02.2014