Lens design is a cornerstone of optical engineering education. At Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, our implementation begins with a review of paraxial optics and system layout before moving into a theoretical treatment of monochromatic and chromatic aberration theory and image quality; small design problems presented along the way provide context and exposure to lens design software (Code V and Zemax). At the undergraduate level, pedagogical methods which focus on open-ended design/synthesis are especially important as these skills are still developing in students. To this end, a series of three design projects were recently introduced. The first project is the design of a fast photographic zoom lens. Constraints are provided for sensor format, overall length, allowable glasses, maximum number of elements, maximum distortion, and the required image quality. In the second design project, students are tasked with the design of a reflective spectrometer system utilizing off-the-shelf optics from a provided list. Design specifications are placed on the wavelength span, resolution bandwidth, input format, and module footprint. The third design project places students in the position of selecting the best design for manufacture based on the results of an inverse sensitivity analysis and Monte Carlo tolerance analysis. The results are weighed against the expected manufacturing cost. This paper details the implementation of these projects, including lessons learned, assessment methodology, and student outcomes. Anecdotally, students who successfully complete all three projects demonstrate deeper understanding of lens design and several specific topics (optimization, multiconfiguration systems, coordinate breaks, diffractive optics, and tolerancing).
© 2015 OSA, SPIE, IEEE Photonics SocietyPDF Article