About Us

Since 1985, Stellar Software has offered easy-to-use yet powerful sequential optical ray tracers for use by optical professionals, students, and teachers. (Sequential means you specify the ray trace sequence of surfaces, and the trace then follows your specification.)

Our latest product, BEAM FOUR JAVA EDITION, is a pure Java application that uses the Java environment that all modern computers host. This means that B4JE runs pretty much everywhere! The program comes with a comprehensive users manual that explains the theory of ray tracing, program operation, and data interpretation. A set of fully worked examples is included in the download package. All the data tables are plain text files that you can share among applications and with other users. Every program includes a built-in data table editor and has instant on-screen graphics displays. Our software converts your computer into a fully equipped optics workstation!

About Ray Tracing

There are three kinds of ray tracers out there...

1. Graphical ray tracers make photo-realistic images of computed scenes, using geometrical methods. Beautiful artwork, but that's not us.

2. Illumination ray tracers compute the sum of diffuse and discrete light sources and predict the intensity at any point in an enclosed space. These are non-sequential: you do not have to pre-specify your trace sequence. These are crucial for designing lighting systems; for light guides; for interior illumination; essential for stray light calculations in optical systems; but that's not us either.

3. Optical ray tracing runs geometrical rays through lenses, gratings, irises, mirrors, prisms, etc and evaluates the image that a specified optical system delivers. Bingo!