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openEMS is a free and open electromagnetic field solver using the FDTD method. Matlab or Octave are used as an easy and flexible scripting interface.


openEMS Features:

  • fully 3D Cartesian and cylindrical coordinates graded mesh.
  • Multi-threading, SIMD (SSE) and MPI support for high speed FDTD.
  • Octave/Matlab and Pyhon-Interface
  • Dispersive material (Drude/Lorentz/Debye type)
  • Field dumps in time and frequency domain as vtk or hdf5 file format
  • Flexible post-processing routines in Octave/Matlab and Python
  • and many more

Install Instruction



  • Install all necessary dependencies, e.g. on Ubuntu 18.04 and above:
sudo apt-get install build-essential cmake git libhdf5-dev libvtk7-dev libboost-all-dev libcgal-dev libtinyxml-dev qtbase5-dev libvtk7-qt-dev

Note: For later versions of Ubuntu you may have to choose a later version of vtk.

  • Optional: Install octave and octave devel packages:
sudo apt-get install octave liboctave-dev
  • Optional: For the package hyp2mat you need additonal dependencies:
sudo apt-get install gengetopt help2man groff pod2pdf bison flex libhpdf-dev libtool
  • Optional: For MPI support:
sudo apt-get install libopenmpi-dev
  • Optional: For the python interface, python3 with matplotlib, cython and h5py is required:
sudo pip3 install matplotlib cython h5py

Clone, build and install

  • Clone this repository, build openEMS and install e.g. to "~/opt/openEMS":
git clone --recursive
cd openEMS-Project
./ ~/opt/openEMS
  • Optional: Build all including hyp2mat and CTB and MPI:
./ ~/opt/openEMS --with-hyp2mat --with-CTB --with-MPI
  • Optional: Build all including the new python extensions:
./ ~/opt/openEMS --python
  • Add the given paths to your Octave/Matlab environment (e.g.):
  • Optional: Add the optional packages to your Octave/Matlab environment (e.g.):

For more informations and other platforms see:

Update Instruction:

  • Perform an update in case of a new release

Note: Changes you may have made (e.g. to the tutorials or examples) may be overwritten!

cd openEMS-Project
git pull
./ ~/opt/openEMS