Opal: An open source ray-tracing propagation simulator for electromagnetic characterization


Accurate characterization and simulation of electromagnetic propagation can be obtained by ray-tracing methods, which are based on a high frequency approximation to the Maxwell equations and describe the propagating field as a set of propagating rays, reflecting, diffracting and scattering over environment elements. However, this approach has been usually too computationally costly to be used in large and dynamic scenarios, but this situation is changing thanks the increasing availability of efficient ray-tracing libraries for graphical processing units. In this paper we present Opal, an electromagnetic propagation simulation tool implemented with ray-tracing on graphical processing units, which is part of the Veneris framework. Opal can be used as a stand-alone ray-tracing simulator, but its main strength lies in its integration with the game engine, which allows to generate customized 3D environments quickly and intuitively. We describe its most relevant features and provide implementation details, highlighting the different simulation types it supports and its extension possibilites. We provide application examples and validate the simulation on demanding scenarios, such as tunnels, where we compare the results with theoretical solutions and further discuss the tradeoffs between the simulation types and its performance.

PLoS ONE, Vol. 16, No. 11, PP. e0260060, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0260060