Essential Skills for Optical Design

This course will emphasize the practical aspects of lens design, such as avoiding the use of expensive optical materials and making lens elements of suitable thickness to avoid manufacturing problems. This course will cover basic optical design theory and application to enable effective use of an optical design software package. Attendees who wish to learn how to use OpticStudio should attend Optical System Design course.

Topics include:

  • Trace bundles of rays though optical systems using Snell's law to obtain the typical data outputs and plots used by lens designers. Starting with simple singlet lenses you will study and learn how to interpret these output data.
  • Review of geometrical optical quantities such as focal length, magnification, the Lagrange invariant, the important roles of the aperture stop and the entrance and exit pupils.
  • Define geometrical wave front aberrations using Fermat's Principle to introduce the five characteristic monochromatic aberrations of axially symmetrical optical systems, namely spherical aberration, coma, astigmatism, field curvature and distortion.
  • Estimate the amounts of geometrical wave front aberrations from simple paraxial ray data. These estimates, known as Seidel sums, are vital to your understanding of how optical systems work. The variation of the refractive index of optical glass with wavelength leads to chromatic aberrations that also must be corrected.
  • Knowing when a lens system is good enough for its application is crucial; learn how to use different image quality assessment techniques such as spot size, Strehl ratio and MTF.
  • Consider a multi-element optical system in terms of simple "thin-lenses" to understand what each component is meant to do and follow this happening as OpticStudio, using accurate ray tracing, optimizes the design.
  • Work through a series of increasingly complex lens designs, each requiring the correction of more and different aberrations using OpticStudio, including:   
    1. The singlet lens and its application in beam expanders, collimators, field lenses and simple eyepieces.
    2. The achromatic doublet and its application in telescopes and microscopes, Petzval lenses and telephoto lenses.
    3. The Cooke triplet, the Tessar and basic wide-field lenses.
    4. The ubiquitous double Gauss lens.

Familiarity with college-level mathematics and basic computer skills. This is not a software training course and no prior knowledge of OpticStudio software is required.
Duration: 5 days


No more classes scheduled for 2016. Check back later for public offerings to be announced for 2017!

This course's material is also available as part of a private training.  
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*Currently this course is only offered in the UK.