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Meep (or MEEP) is a free finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulation software package developed at MIT to model electromagnetic systems, along with our MPB eigenmode package. Its features include:

Release notes
Meep manual
C++ Tutorial
C++ Reference
License and Copyright
  • Free software under the GNU GPL.
  • Simulation in 1d, 2d, 3d, and cylindrical coordinates.
  • Distributed memory parallelism on any system supporting the MPI standard. Portable to any Unix-like system (GNU/Linux is fine).
  • Arbitrary anisotropic electric permittivity ε and magnetic permeability μ, along with dispersive ε(ω) and μ(ω) (including loss/gain) and nonlinear (Kerr & Pockels) dielectric and magnetic materials, and electric/magnetic conductivities σ.
  • PML absorbing boundaries and/or perfect conductor and/or Bloch-periodic boundary conditions.
  • Exploitation of symmetries to reduce the computation size — even/odd mirror symmetries and 90°/180° rotations.
  • Complete scriptability — either via a Scheme scripting front-end (as in libctl and MPB), or callable as a C++ library; a Python interface is also available.
  • Field output in the HDF5 standard scientific data format, supported by many visualization tools.
  • Arbitrary material and source distributions.
  • Field analyses including flux spectra, Maxwell stress tensor, frequency extraction, local density of states and energy integrals; completely programmable.
  • Multi-parameter optimization, root-finding, integration, etcetera (via libctl).

Meep officially stands for MIT Electromagnetic Equation Propagation, but we also have several unofficial meanings of the acronym.

Time-domain simulation

A time-domain electromagnetic simulation simply takes Maxwell's equations and evolves them over time within some finite computational region, essentially performing a kind of numerical experiment. This can be used to calculate a wide variety of useful quantities, but major applications include:

  • Transmission and reflection spectra — by Fourier-transforming the response to a short pulse, a single simulation can yield the scattering amplitudes over a wide spectrum of frequencies.
  • Resonant modes and frequencies — by analyzing the response of the system to a short pulse, one can extract the frequencies, decay rates, and field patterns of the harmonic modes of a system (including waveguide and cavity modes, and including losses).
  • Field patterns (e.g. Green's functions) in response to an arbitrary source, archetypically a CW (fixed-ω) input.

Using these results, one can then compute many other things, such as the local density of states (from the trace of the Green's function). Meep's scriptable interface makes it possible to combine many sorts of computations (along with multi-parameter optimization etcetera) in sequence or in parallel.

The Meep manual gives examples of all of these kinds of computations.


Please see the Meep Download page to get the latest version of Meep; the differences between versions are described in the Meep release notes. The installation instructions can be found in the installation section of the Meep manual.

You can also download the latest development sources from Meep on Github.


See the Meep manual, and also the navigation sidebar at right. In particular, the Meep Introduction and Meep Tutorial are the most important things to read.

See also the list of Meep examples.

We also have a Meep FAQ.

Please cite Meep in any publication for which you found it useful.

Mailing Lists

The Meep mailing lists (and their archives) are another source of information about Meep.

Subscribe to the (read-only) meep-announce mailing list to receive an email when Meep is updated in the future. Subscribe to the (unmoderated) meep-discuss mailing list for discussion of questions and ideas about using Meep. Announcements are not always sent to meep-discuss; you should subscribe to meep-announce for that. Archives of meep-discuss are available online. (You can also read & post to the list via the newsgroup from Gmane).

Bug reports and feature requests

For bug reports and feature requests, please file a Meep Github issue.


The two core, active developers of Meep are Ardavan Oskooi and Steven G. Johnson. The Meep project was initiated by David Roundy when he was at MIT in J. D. Joannopoulos' group, and David was soon joined by Mihai Ibanescu and Peter Bermel. Recent versions also include work by Alejandro W. Rodriguez and Alexander P. McCauley. This work was supported in part by the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center program of the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DMR-9400334, and also by Dr. Dennis Healy of DARPA MTO, under award N00014-05-1-0700 administered by the Office of Naval Research.

Please see the Meep Acknowledgements for a more complete listing of those to whom we are grateful.

Contacts and Feedback

If you have questions or problems regarding Meep, you are encouraged query the meep-discuss mailing list (see above); please search the meep-discuss archives as your first resort.

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

Alternatively, you may directly contact Steven G. Johnson at

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