Abstract

For decades the computer has been the primary tool used for optical design. Typical tasks include performing numerical calculations for ray tracing and analysis and rendering graphics for system drawings. As machines become faster with each new generation, the time needed for a particular design task has greatly reduced, allowing multiple assignments to be performed with little noticeable delay. This lets the designer modify a system and then immediately see the results rendered in graphics with a single motion. Such visual design methods are discussed here, where graphics of systems and plots relating to their performance are produced in real time, permitting the optical designer to design by pictures. Three examples are given: an educational tutorial for designing a simple microscope objective, an unobstructed reflective telescope composed of three spherical mirrors, and a modified Offner relay with an accessible pupil.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. For an example of a systematic global search, see J. M. Howard, B. D. Stone, “Imaging a point with two spherical mirrors,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 15, 3045–3056 (1998).
  2. OSLO is a registered trademark of Lambda Research Corporation, 80 Taylor Street, P.O. Box 1400, Littleton, Mass. 01460.
  3. B. D. Stone, “Supplement to lecture notes: lens design example,” in Geometrical Optics, The Institute of Optics Summer Course Series (University of Rochester, Rochester N.Y., 1999).
  4. J. M. Howard, B. D. Stone, “Imaging with three spherical mirrors,” Appl. Opt. 39, 3216–3231 (2000).
    [CrossRef]
  5. In a plane symmetric system there are two focal lengths: one for rays in the plane of symmetry and one for rays outside of the plane of symmetry. Also, it is possible for rays in the plane of symmetry to be defocused from rays out of the plane of symmetry, causing what I refer to as first-order blur. Thus four constraints are needed to control each of these first-order properties.
  6. For a summary of the yardstick design of the NIRCAM on the NGST, see Chap. 7 of The Next Generation Space Telescope: Visiting a Time When Galaxies Were Young, H. S. Stockman, ed., 2nd ed. (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Washington, D.C., 1998).
  7. A. Offner, “Unit power imaging catoptric anastigmat,” U.S. patent3,748,015 (24July1973).

2000

1998

Appl. Opt.

J. Opt. Soc. Am. A

Other

OSLO is a registered trademark of Lambda Research Corporation, 80 Taylor Street, P.O. Box 1400, Littleton, Mass. 01460.

B. D. Stone, “Supplement to lecture notes: lens design example,” in Geometrical Optics, The Institute of Optics Summer Course Series (University of Rochester, Rochester N.Y., 1999).

In a plane symmetric system there are two focal lengths: one for rays in the plane of symmetry and one for rays outside of the plane of symmetry. Also, it is possible for rays in the plane of symmetry to be defocused from rays out of the plane of symmetry, causing what I refer to as first-order blur. Thus four constraints are needed to control each of these first-order properties.

For a summary of the yardstick design of the NIRCAM on the NGST, see Chap. 7 of The Next Generation Space Telescope: Visiting a Time When Galaxies Were Young, H. S. Stockman, ed., 2nd ed. (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Washington, D.C., 1998).

A. Offner, “Unit power imaging catoptric anastigmat,” U.S. patent3,748,015 (24July1973).

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Figures (6)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Sliders, system drawing, and transverse ray-aberration plots for an achromatic microscope objective. The system drawing and aberration plots are automatically updated when the sliders are moved.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Optimization of microscope objective with computer graphics. Ray-error plots for on-axis meridian rays are shown for changing curvature of the first doublet. The horizontal axes are normalized pupil coordinates, and the vertical axes are ray error measured in millimeters. Three wavelengths (red, green, and blue) are included in each plot. In plot 4, defocus is added.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Sliders and system drawing for a three-mirror telescope. Note the limited space for mounting the third mirror due to the incoming beam.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Modification of three-mirror telescope with computer graphics. The tilt on the third mirror t3 is adjusted from -18.0 to -16.0 to -14.0 as illustrated in systems A, B, and C, respectively. As a result, imaging constraints on the system move the third mirror above the incoming beam, providing the necessary space for mounting the optic. Although the numbers representing the rms spot radius of the basal image point show a reduction in image quality, optimizing the three curvatures of system C more than compensates for this loss with little change in system configuration.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Sliders and system drawing for a concentric three-mirror relay. Note that the internal pupil is inaccessible since it is located on the second mirror.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Modification of three-mirror relay with computer graphics. The point labeled O is the common center of curvature, and the maximum rms spot radius over the field is included in each system. To make the internal pupil accessible, the radius of the second mirror (slider r2/r1) is reduced from 0.50 to 0.46 to 0.41, as shown by systems D, E, and F, respectively. During this process, the radius of the third mirror r3 also reduces since it is constrained to zero the Petzval curvature. A final adjustment is made in the object distance in system G to improve image quality.

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