Jul 21, 2021

Zemax Celebrates Three Decades of Technology Advances and Innovations

Category: Company News
Zemax Celebrates Three Decades of Technology Advances and Innovations
This month Zemax celebrates our 30th year in business! We are also celebrating the 5-year anniversary of opening Zemax-Japan and Zemax-Taiwan. These are all wonderful milestones worthy of reflection and commemoration. We now have employees in 8 countries: the United States, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, France, and India. We continue to be committed to our customer across the globe.

When Ken Moore first started Zemax 30 years ago, his vision was to create an intuitive, easy-to-use product that any optical engineer or physicist could leverage to design new products. Beyond ease-of-use, Ken was laser focused on accuracy and performance. First and foremost, the code had to provide the most accurate simulations possible. Then it had to be fast! This dedication to precision and performance endeared both Ken and Zemax to our customers and to the broader optics and photonics community. It remains a core tenet of our foundation and product development strategy to this day.

Building on that foundation, our continuing mission at Zemax is to enable our customers to design and manufacture sophisticated optical products for which geometric ray tracing is applicable. Over the years, Zemax tools have been used to in the design of a wide range of imaging and illumination applications, from camera lenses for the Mars Rover to transmitter and receiver optics for autonomous vehicle LiDAR systems, to light pipes in cell phone and TV displays to optical interconnects for data and telecommunication…and much (much) more. While this vision remains vibrantly relevant today, Zemax is also working to advance key innovations through targeted enhancements to our product portfolio. More recently, this includes adding capabilities to model diffractive optics used in mixed reality headsets and for importing finite element analysis data (using the STAR Module for OpticStudio) to model the impact of structural and thermal loads on optical system performance for laser, aerospace and defense, and consumer electronic applications. We also understand more deeply the role that system-level design plays in the product development process and have created new offerings like OpticsBuilder to support integrated design workflows. 

Just as our technology has broadened over the years to meet the needs of our customers, so too has our customer base. A wonderful example of this is in Japan and Taiwan, where five years ago we took the opportunity to open our own regional offices to support the growing needs of these innovative markets. While Zemax had long supported the Japanese and Taiwanese optics communities through trusted partners – such as Toshi Nagamine, who helped lead the foundation of Zemax Japan and is now currently serving as our Director of Asia Pacific Sales – opening Zemax offices allowed us to get closer to those communities and ensure their continued success as they created the next generation of optical products. The recent Envision 2021 Japan conference highlighted the exciting work being done by our Japanese customers, and I was honored to be a part of the event. We are not stopping there, as we have hired staff in Germany (where we have our largest set of European customers) and will be opening our 6th Zemax office in Germany once we can resume in-person office work there. 

The tight connection to our users – in Japan, Germany and throughout the world – is one of the hallmarks of Zemax, and one that I am the proudest to be associated with. I have had the privilege of working for Zemax for nearly 14 years, or almost half of its lifetime! During that time, I have seen the evolution of our business from being founder-driven to becoming an industry leader that is well posed to drive the future of innovation in the optics and photonics community. I look forward to the future that Zemax will play in this community, and to my role in creating that future together with you.


Sanjay Gangadhara
Chief Technology Office
Zemax, LLC