Can Rhino model laser beam refraction paths?

I know this can be done in a very accurate way with optics programs like Zemax, but wonder if you can do a basic version of it in Rhino?

For example, have a 1 mm diameter “cylinder” of light pass through a window at an angle. The “light cylinder” bends in the window based on snell’s law.

See brute force example to visualize what I mean.

visually you can sure simulate it with refractive materials which are based on physical refraction values. is that what you are looking for?

I know that you can simulate light interactions with index as a property, but I thought this was for light scattering/refraction from point and distributed volume sources, not a “beam” source.

i might not fully grasp your issue. are you trying to simulate the path of a single beam?

correct. I want to visualize the path of a single ray as it passes through transparent solids having different user defined indexes.

i am still unsure if that is what you need…
i set up a scene with a physically based material and a refractive index of 1.52 (glass) anything passing through will be bent depending on the index

Thanks. Maybe we are seeing this a bit differently. The rendering does do index well with two solid objects. But is that red object light or a solid? If you draw a straight line from the center of the top of the red object to the center of the bottom of the red object, it should NOT be a line parallel to the red object if the red object is “beam of light” and not a solid.

hm, so the outcoming light-beam will be physically displaced compared to a solid rod passing directly through just visually bent? interesting… which actually means you would need something like a volumetric light, since laser is probably seen with the help of a medium either i assume?

i am not sure if that can be done with rhino… @nathanletwory ?

here just another render seen from the side, here it just appears bent in the medium but proceeds its incoming path. which is not what you want in that case.

@algomez doing a bit digging myself i am afraid that the renderengine cycles might not be up to your task since it seems not to map any photons.

vray or maxwell which are available for rhino could simulate that for you i assume.

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Thanks! I’ll give a look into vray and maxwell. I have Zemax, but it is quite complicated to lay out vs what I need to do in Rhino.

This may be a problem which can be solved using Grasshopper.

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hi Algomez, i just stumbled over a topic here on the forum, i thought it could maybe contribute to your findings

The video looks like it can do exactly what I need. thanks fellas. Now to figure out how to make it work for me.

well, i hope you are old enough to play with lasers!

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lol. Plenty old enough :stuck_out_tongue: been using them for work/school since ~2001.