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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, near to far field transformations; 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.

The latest development sources are available on Github.


The latest documentation is available on readthedocs.

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. 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 notifications of updates and releases. Subscribe to the unmoderated meep-discuss mailing list for discussions about using Meep. Archives are available here. You can also read and 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.


Meep's active developers are Ardavan Oskooi and Steven G. Johnson. 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 to query the mailing list.

For professional consulting as well as free access to Meep in the public cloud via Amazon Web Services (AWS), see Simpetus.

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