Major New Features
There are a number of minor changes that are not documented here. The new features described here
are in the Windows version only; except for bug fixes, the Macintosh version was not updated.
Mixtures of materials. On the Modify menu there is a new command "Mixture Materials" that
displays a window that enables the user to make mixtures of two materials by giving the names of
the two materials A and B, and the percentage of A. The mixture is just a linear mix of the dielectric
constants of the two materials. The window also displays the refractive index of the mixture at
the reference wavelength. If the user changes this index, the percentage of A will be adjusted
to obtain the desired index. Mixture materials are important in at least two areas: (1) to
determine the effect of impurities in coatings and (2) to create materials with special properties.
Using interactive analysis, the user can adjust the mixture percentage and see immediately how the
coating performance changes.
- Dispersion formula constraints removed. Most dispersion formulas had parameters
that were constrained to be non-negative. These constraints, which are used when the dispersion
formula is fit to measured data, have been removed. However, the user can set these in the
- Variable and mixture materials searched first. When TFCalc opens a design, now it
searches for material names in the variable materials and the mixture materials lists before the
regular materials list. When designs are received from other designers, this feature prevents a
problem caused by designs that use a variable or mixture material whose name is the same as an
- Variable materials factor. When designing a prototype bandpass filter using variable
materials, it is sometimes desirable to adjust the width of the passband. This can be accomplished
by multiplying all indices greater than 1 and dividing all indices less than 1 by a factor.
TFCalc's new interactive analysis feature makes it easy to find the correct factor; just open an
interactive analysis dialog, select "variable material factor", and adjust that factor while
watching a plot of the filter. Animation example.
- User can change background color of windows to white. The gray background is too dark
on some computers. White, though bright, improves the readability of data windows. Select the
"Window Options" command on the Misc menu for this option.
- Plots copied to the clipboard now have a white background. Previously, the gray
background was copied to the clipboard. Now the background is always white.
- Color printers detected. If plots are printed using a color printer, TFCalc will print
solid lines instead of dashed lines.
- Open files detected. When TFCalc tries to read a file that is being used by another
program, it displays a warning message. Previously, TFCalc would fail to read the file and there
was no message.
- Radio buttons change automatically. When the user changes text associated with a radio
button, the button is selected automatically.
- Improved zooming. Now when you zoom a plot (by holding down the Control key while
dragging the mouse), a green rectangle shows the area that will be zoomed.
- Better error handling. Errors in TFCalc -- if there are any -- are reported with more
information and stored in the file TFCalc.Log
- Save plots as GIF files. Added in version 3.5.9, this feature enables the user to save
various plots as GIF files, which are easy to add to documemts and websites. See the Options menu
of each plot window.
Configuration parameters are stored with each design. This means that each design remembers
the configuration settings (wavelength units, thickness priority, color observer, phase convention,
etc.) that were in effect when the design was saved.
Export coating designs to Code V and ZEMAX. Added in version 3.5.12, this feature enables
users to export coating designs to the Code V and ZEMAX optical design
software, which are products of Optical Research Associates
and Zemax Development Corporation, respectively. The new commands
are on the File menu.