October 13, 2020

Envision 2020 from the lens of Zemax's CTO

Envision 2020 from the lens of Zemax's CTO

Zemax held our latest Envision conference last week, bringing together over 1,100 leaders from 45 countries to discuss the latest innovations and advancements in the optics and photonics industry over 3 exciting days. Presentations covered a broad variety of applications, from aerospace and defense to consumer electronics, life sciences and medicine to optics for autonomy. While the role of optics in the fight against COVID-19 was highlighted by Dr. Jeffrey Wilde’s review of using UV-C lighting for mask decontamination, throughout the conference I could clearly see the effect that the pandemic has had on driving innovation throughout the industry.

The pandemic has accelerated the need to generate robust, scalable solutions quickly and efficiently, making it imperative that manufacturability is incorporated into all stages of the product development process. Presentations in both the Design for Manufacture and Design Tools tracks illustrated how the industry is addressing this need, coupling together simulation with real-world knowledge, and understanding. Advancements in simulation tools are also allowing for more complex system analysis and design, and ample evidence of this was provided throughout the conference. This was highlighted during reviews on freeform optics and micro-optics in the Modern Optical Design track and on metasurfaces, diffractive optics, and digital holography provided in the Automotive & Consumer Electronics track. Increasingly, customized simulations are required to create accurate models of complex systems, and the role of the OpticStudio API for delivering this customization was on display in both the Aerospace & Defense and Life Sciences tracks.

Two threads that I observed throughout the conference were the increasing agility and adaptability of leaders in the optics and photonics industry to respond to the current global environment and the rise of the next generation of leaders within the industry. These trends converged during a panel discussion that I had the fortune to close the conference with, entitled “Innovating into the Future”. This panel featured company founders from the fields of life science, mixed reality, and 3D imaging. It was an incredible experience to hear how these young pioneers got their start, how they have adjusted to the impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses, and where they see the industry heading in the coming years. Spending time with these intelligent and thoughtful leaders has increased my excitement and passion for the optics and photonics industry.

Envision 2020 was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our customers, and I was honored to be a part of this event. I am also excited about the role that Zemax is playing in the innovation highlighted by our customers during the conference. With the latest release of OpticStudio (20.3), we have made significant improvements to performance as related to design and design for manufacture – and our customers have noticed:

“I will say I am really happy with the speed improvements with 20.3.” Mary Turner, Edmund Optics.

I am blown away by OpticStudio 20.3. My non-sequential traces are so much faster. Not only that, but the multi-threading improvements have drastically improved my optimization speeds for complex systems with complex merit functions. Thank you for the work you do at Zemax.” Trent Brendel, University of Arizona,

As I discussed in my keynote on the first day of the conference, Zemax will continue to work with leaders in the optics and photonics industry to drive innovation. This includes improving stray light and wide-angle lens design tools needed to model optics used for autonomy and remote sensing. This also includes adding new freeform and diffractive optics tools for simulating miniaturized systems used in mixed reality, LiDAR, and a variety of other cutting-edge applications. There has never been a more exciting time to be in optics and photonics, and I am thrilled to be a part of the journey!

If you missed any of the sessions from Envision 2020, the content is now available on demand for all Zemax customers. Please contact your account manager for access.

Sanjay Gangadhara, CTO at Zemax

Sanjay Gangadhara,
Chief Technology Officer

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