MPB manual

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MIT Photonic Bands
Release notes
MPB manual
User Tutorial
Data Analysis Tutorial
User Reference
Developer Information
License and Copyright


MIT Photonic-Bands

Welcome to the manual for the MIT Photonic-Bands (MPB) package, a program for computing band structures (dispersion relations) of optical systems. MPB was developed by Steven G. Johnson of MIT Applied Mathematics, in collaboration with the Joannopoulos Ab Initio Physics Group in the Condensed Matter Theory division of the MIT Physics Department.


This documentation is divided into the following sections:

  • MPB Introduction: The introductory section describes the motivation, history, and high-level structure of this package.
  • MPB Installation: How to install and compile MPB, including descriptions of and links to software you must first download and install from other sources.
  • MPB User Tutorial: In this section, we introduce the use of MPB to compute a photonic band structure. A simple tutorial illustrates how the basic features are used to solve for the modes of example structures.
  • MPB Data Analysis Tutorial: Here, we walk through how you might analyze and visualize the results from a couple of typical MPB calculations. Includes some pretty pictures for those who don't like to read.
  • MPB User Reference: A compact listing of the various functions and features provided by the user interface.
  • MPB Developer Information: In this section, we outline some of the internal structure and algorithms used in Photonic-Bands, as an aid to outside developers wishing to add new features and bugs.
  • MPB Acknowledgements: A project of this size could never be completed without the support of many others, to whom we are very grateful.
  • MPB License and Copyright: MIT Photonic Bands is free software under the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). Also see this section for referencing information.

All on one page

For printing, it is convenient to use this link:


For professional consulting support of the MIT Photonic-Bands package, and photonic band-gap applications in general, contact Prof. John D. Joannopoulos of MIT (phone: (617) 253-4806, fax: (617) 253-2562).

If you have questions or problems regarding MIT Photonic-Bands, you are encouraged to join the mpb-discuss mailing list. This way, you can get help from other users of the software. In addition, this way other users can benefit from your experience by reading the mpb-discuss archives.

Alternatively, you may directly contact Steven G. Johnson at Complicated problems may be referred to consulting, above.

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