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Introduction to ZEMAX

Nenad Vrucinic
February 8, 2018
ZEMAX Optics Studio
• The ZEMAX optical design program is a comprehensive software
• It integrates all the features required to conceptualize, design,
optimize, analyze, tolerance, and document virtually any optical
• It is widely used in the optics industry as a standard design tool.

Typical Engineering Design Process
- OpticStudio Primary Functions

ZEMAX – Key Features
• Analysis
– Ray, wave and diffraction calculations
– Interactive charts to better visualize results
– All data is available in both chart and text form
• Optimization
– Optimization wizard allows easy optimization of design
– User defined constraints
– Built-in tools for stock lens and material matching
• Tolerancing
– Help incorporate manufacturing/assembly limits in design
– Scripts to automate process
– Ability to run Monte Carlo, save files, and perform external

ZEMAX – Key Features
• Manufacturability
– Design lockdown: automates final steps for production
– ISO Element Drawing and export XML data
– Automatic conversion to non-sequential mode including CAD
• Extensibility
– Robust programming language that is extremely easy to learn
– API that allows for 2-way external communication with .NET
and COM languages (C++, C#, Matlab, Python, and more)

What do Computer Aided Design tools do?
• Computer-aided sequential lens design – rays are traced from one surface to the
next in the order in which they are listed

• Rays are traced from one surface to the next in the order in which they are listed

• Example

– A ray starts at the object surface

– The ray is traced to surface 1, then to surface 2, and so on
– A ray cannot skip a surface… e.g., not from 2 to 6
– A ray cannot go back… e.g., from 3 to 1

Lens Data Editor

Merit Function
• Equation which evaluates the performance of the lens Editors->Merit Function
– Manually constructing a merit function is tough
– Use defaults
• Start the optimization
– Tools->Optimization->Optimization

Creating Mirrors
• Use the Tools Menu to add a fold mirror
- Tools->Fold Mirror->Add Fold Mirror

- Creating spherical mirrors as well 9

Analysis Tools
• Spot Diagrams

The 3D Layout plot
- The 3D Layout plot shows sequential rays traced from a point source at the object
surface at the middle-right hand side of the layout.

The 3D Layout plot
- The rays initially travel from left to right and enter a non-sequential component
group where they hit a faceted mirror (object 1 in the Non-Sequential Component
Editor) and reflect to the left where they exit the non-sequential group and hit a
sequentially defined lens (surfaces 3 and 4 in the Lens Data Editor)

The Geometric Image Analysis
- The Geometric Image Analysis window shows the unique and complex
ray distribution formed on the image surface to the left of the lens

Other Optical Design Software
• Code-V (Optical Research Associates)
• OSLO (Sinclair Optics)
• OpTaliX (Optenso Ltd)
• Advanced Systems Analysis Program - ASAP (Breault Research)
• TracePro (Lambda Research)
• FRED (Photon Engineering)

Recommended Textbooks on Optical Design
• OpticStudio User Manual and Getting Started Using
• Introduction to Lens Design with Practical ZEMAX Examples,
Joseph M Geary (Willmann-Bell Inc.)
• Handbook of Optical Design, Malacara (Marcel Dekker)
• Optical System Design, Kingslake (Academic Press)
• Optical Systems Design, Fischer & Tadic (SPIE Press)
• Modern Optical Engineering-The Design of Optical System,
Smith (McGraw Hill)
• Practical Computer-Aided Design, Gregory Hallock Smith
(Willmann-Bell Inc.)