Optical Research Associates, of Pasadena, Calif., has announced LightTools version 5.0, featuring optimization capability, an industry first. The LightTools optimization module, one of four modules now available for this popular illumination design and analysis software, delivers the ability to automatically refine the performance of a system based on user-specified performance criteria. Proprietary algorithms provide two optimization engines in this new module: the damped least squares (DLS) engine, which uses the same production-proven technology used by the AUTO optimizer in ORA's CODE V software, and a newly developed noise-tolerant engine. The DLS engine efficiently handles problems based on nonsequential ray data, while the noise-tolerant engine is targeted to solving problems based on Monte Carlo simulations. Complementing the power of the optimization engines in this module is the flexibility provided for problem definition. Users can specify variables, constraints and merit functions for the optimization with the ease of use they have come to expect in LightTools. Powerful user-defined customization is also possible, based on Visual Basic and Microsoft component object model.