Course SC003

Practical Optical System Design

Wednesday, 4 August 2021 • 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM PDT
Level: Intermediate
Member: $685.00
Non-member: $805.00
Student member: $397.00
This course will provide attendees with a basic working knowledge of optical design and associated engineering. The information in this course will help novice and experienced designers, as well as people who interact with optical designers and engineers, sufficiently understand these problems and solutions to minimize cost and risk. The course includes background information for optical design and an array of pragmatic considerations such as optical system specification, analysis of optical systems, material selection, use of catalog systems and components, ultraviolet through infrared system considerations, environmental factors and solutions, Gaussian beam optics, and production considerations such as optical testing and alignment. The course includes practical and useful examples emphasizing rigorous optical design and engineering with an emphasis on designing for manufacture. Even if you have never used an optical design program before, you will become fluent with how to estimate, assess, execute, and manage the design of optical systems for many varied applications.

This course is a continuation of the long-running Practical Optical Systems Design course established and taught by Robert E. Fischer.

Learning Outcomes

  • develop a complete optical system design specification
  • highlight fundamental physics and engineering related to optical design
  • establish a general basis for modeling optical systems using computer-aided methods
  • analyze and organize system considerations to incorporate such as environmental factors
  • design for manufacture, alignment, and testing
  • consider multiple key aspects of optical engineering for successfully transitioning from concept to production


This course is intended for anyone who needs to learn how to engineer optical systems. It will be of value to those who either design their own optics or those who work directly or indirectly with optical designers, as you will now understand what is really going on and how to ask the right questions of your designers.


Richard N. Youngworth - Riyo LLC (United States)
Richard N. Youngworth , Ph.D. is a Founder and Chief Engineer of Riyo LLC, an optical design and engineering firm and through Riyo is Staff Technical Consultant for Lambda Research Corporation. Riyo LLC provides optical engineering and optical product development services. His industrial experience spans diverse topics including optical metrology, design, manufacturing, and analysis. Dr. Youngworth has spent significant time working on optical systems in the challenging transition from ideal design to successful volume manufacturing. He is widely considered an expert, due to his research, lectures, publications, and industrial work on the design, producibility, and tolerance analysis of optical components and systems. Dr. Youngworth teaches "Practical Optical System Design" and "Cost-Conscious Tolerancing of Optical Systems" for SPIE and is a Fellow of SPIE and OSA. He has a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned his Ph.D. in optics at the University of Rochester by researching tolerance analysis of optical systems.
S. Craig Olson - L3 Sonoma EO (United States)
S. Craig Olson , Ph.D. is Engineering Fellow for Imaging and Optical Systems at L3 Technologies in Santa Rosa, CA. His experience spans both commercial and government markets, with over 21 years’ experience in managing the full life cycle of a wide variety of reflective and refractive optical systems in the visible and infrared. His practical knowledge spans everything from requirements generation through design, analysis, testing, and production of optical systems with aperture sizes anywhere from 5 to 500 mm. He has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Optics from the University of Rochester Institute of Optics. Dr. Olson is a Fellow of SPIE.


RECOMMENDED textbook Optical System Design, 2nd Edition (SPIE Press, 2008/McGraw-Hill) by Robert E. Fischer, Biljana Tadic-Galeb, and Paul R. Yoder, Jr.

Additional notes

This course is also available in online format.
Attendee testimonial:
Great optical system design class in a nutshell!