Frequently Asked Questions

What is optical design?

Optical design is the design of systems that control light (photons) and can include the design of lenses, reflectors, light pipes, diffraction elements for use in applications like microscopes, cameras, lighting, medical devices, projectors, night vision, thermal imaging, and many more.

Which is better Code: V or Zemax?

Both are very powerful and can be used to design imaging and illumination optics. Since CODE V has a higher price, Zemax is more widely used. While both can be used to optimize optical systems, design lenses, and develop tolerances, they both require training to fully use their features.

What is optical design software?

Optical design software is used to calculate the path of rays of light as they refract or reflect through lenses and other materials, and off surfaces. Popular optical design programs include Zemax, Code V, FRED, and Trace Pro. The software is used by optical engineers when designing optical systems such as lenses.

How to design an optical system?

Optical systems such as lenses and reflectors are often designed by optical engineers with training in optical physics. Custom software programs like Zemax and CodeV are used to calculate the path of photons as they move through and around a system and to design methods to control the direction of those light rays.

How to design a lens in Solidworks?

Solidworks is not used for the design of lenses or optics. To design a lens, ray tracing is necessary, programs like Zemax are used by optical engineers to design the shapes of lenses, reflectors, and light pipes to control photons.

How to design a Macro Lens?

The custom design of a macro lens requires the use of ray tracing software such as Zemax. This program can be used to design lens elements (or multiple elements) to the requirements of the application include field of view, resolution, and wavelength range.

How to design a telecentric lens?

The custom design of a telecentric lens requires the use of ray tracing software such as Zemax as well as a mechanical design software to create the lens element mechanics and lens barrel. Depending on requirements such as wavelength range, field of view, and resolution, a telecentric design will differ in the quantity, size, and material used for the lens elements.

How to design a wide angle lens?

The first step to design a wide angle lens is to determine the specifications needed for the application. These specifications could include field of view, resolution, allowable distortion at edge of field, and wavelength range. Then a ray tracing software such as Zemax can be used to design the lens elements and spacing needed to reach the requirements.

What is a freeform lens design?

In the design of optics including lenses and reflectors, a freeform design is a surface with multiple points of control. A bezier curve is an example of a freeform design: it allows the development of more complex shapes and results in optics with higher performance results.

What are the benefits of an aspheric lens?

A lens with aspheric surfaces is able to correct optical aberrations that a single spherical lens would not. A lens system with multiple aspheric lens elements can provide better optical quality with fewer optical elements in a smaller optical path than possible using only spherical elements. Aspheric elements are often molded and require higher tooling costs than spherical lenses.

How to control chromatic aberrations in lens design?

In many applications of lens design, avoiding chromatic aberrations is a key performance requirement. The main method to correct it is to use a lens design with multiple elements of different refraction indices or by using a diffractive optical element. For explanation, see this article https://www.opticsforhire.com/blog/correcting-chromatic-aberrations

Are doublet lenses always better than singlets?

It depends on what better means. An asphere could correct the aberrations found in a spherical singlet as well as a doublet could, but for a low volume, a doublet would have much lower costs.

How to measure lens resolution?

There are many methods, but the most straightforward is to use an US Air Force target. With the system in focus, place your target at different locations in your optical system’s field of view. By examining the line pairs to determine the smallest set examined, you can determine resolution.

What is a TIR lens?

A TIR lens uses “Total Internal Reflection” to direct rays of light to a target area. They are commonly used for LED illumination. These lenses take advantage of the same physical principal that can make a flat water body appear to be a mirror. Based on the surface angles and different materials’ refractive indices, light will be redirected rather than pass through a surface.

What are LED optics?

LED optics can be lenses, reflectors, or lightpipes and are used to control and distribute the light rays from an LED to provide a specified light pattern.