February 21, 2018

Key takeaways from Photonics West 2018

By Kristen Norton, OpticStudio Product Manager

Key takeaways from Photonics West 2018

Thank you to all our customers, partners, and friends who visited us at Photonics West! We can’t get enough of the stories you tell about using Zemax software to design optical systems and create virtual prototypes. I’m always impressed with the new design challenges you’re taking on, and with the inventive solutions you’re discovering. Your feedback informs the development and prioritization of new Zemax features, and we’re busy working to incorporate all the information that we gathered at Photonics West. Here are a few of my observations and takeaways.

OpticStudio: Contrast Optimization is a stand-out feature

With OpticStudio, we’re happy to see how widely Contrast Optimization is now used. This new method has quickly become the standard for optimizing imaging systems. Customers who are designing optical systems with curved image surfaces are particularly happy with the results of Contrast Optimization, because they no longer need to use the slower Huygens MTF operands in the merit function. One customer said that an optimization process which previously took two weeks can now be completed in a few minutes! In addition, he is finding better design variants with Contrast Optimization than he previously did with the MTF operands. This is exactly the kind of performance improvement and time savings that Zemax is committed to bringing to our customers.

LensMechanix: rolling releases add helpful features

Similarly, our LensMechanix customers are appreciating the features in the latest release, including the enhanced multi-configuration capability and power throughput measurements. We also received positive feedback about the frequency of LensMechanix releases; customers were very happy to see their feature requests implemented so quickly. One customer mentioned that he was initially apprehensive about adopting LensMechanix, but that he couldn’t believe how easily it fit into his mechanical engineering workflow. The resulting improvements to his team’s prototypes have made LensMechanix a critical part of their optomechanical design process. We’re working hard to make the optomechanical design process easier and faster with each new LensMechanix release, and an exciting part of our product roadmap includes the launch of LensMechanix for Creo. The Lighthouse Program for early adopters is now open, and participants will get an exclusive discounted price on the final release.

What’s next: a feature request portal

We’re currently working on a customer feature request portal, which will allow you to vote on other feature requests that have been submitted. You’ll also be able to see the status of your request, including if it is awaiting review, is under consideration, is planned, is available in a release, or is not part of our roadmap. We’ll be able to provide in-depth responses, including mockups and explanations of how your request fits (or potentially doesn’t fit) into our upcoming release plans. We’re currently working to add the feature requests from Photonics West to this portal, along with some of the top feature requests from the public Zemax forum.

New partnerships are in the works

As companies start to standardize on Zemax software, the demand for further compatibility with other products and processes increases. So, it’s no surprise that we had a record number of requests for new partnerships from optical fabrication companies and a variety of software companies, ranging from photonics design software to systems calibration software. We look forward to working with these companies to create new surfaces, objects, and features that support optical product design.

Join us at our 2018 Zemax user conferences

If you’re interested in hearing first-hand how other customers are using OpticStudio and LensMechanix to improve optical performance, reduce costs, and get their optical products to market faster, please check out the Zemax European User Group Symposium coming up in London in March, and ZCON 2018: the Zemax North American User Conference in Las Vegas in November. We’re looking forward to discussing our product roadmaps, the latest industry challenges, and the new optical products customers are designing with our software.

Happy ray tracing, and we hope to see you at Photonics West again next year!


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