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Course SC1311

Understanding Optical System Specifications: Identifying and Managing Hidden Conflicts

Wednesday, 26 January 2022 • 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM PST
Level: Introductory
Member: $450.00
Non-member: $525.00
Student member: $285.00
The primary goal of the course is to help identify the common hidden specification conflicts that can cause optical design projects to fail and the strategies for managing these conflicts. The first part of this course is the presentation of a general optical design specification document appropriate for a wide range of optical design projects. Each specification and the standard relationships between them will be discussed in detail to help determine if you have all of your specifications for a given project and if you are providing the right set of information to an optical designer. Software demos (e.g. CODE V and Zemax) showing the impact on changes in specifications will be used to highlight the hidden specification conflicts. The last part of the course is a workshop where a series of design problems are handed out. Attendees will have the opportunity to work through the exercises in small groups, find the hidden specification conflicts, and get real-time feedback on their specification documents.

Learning Outcomes

  • determine the correct focal length, f/# and field of view for your optical system
  • select an appropriate light source and detector
  • convert between pixel resolution and angular resolution
  • quantify image quality and performance requirements
  • identify how your system specifications impact your depth of field and/or depth of focus
  • distinguish the packaging parameters (e.g. diameter, length) that limit performance
  • determine if catalog lenses will work for your project or if you need to get a custom design


Scientists, engineers, technicians, or managers who wish to learn more about how to best specify an optical system. Undergraduate training in engineering or science is assumed.


Julie L. Bentley - The Institute of Optics, Univ. of Rochester (United States)
Julie L. Bentley is a Professor at The Institute of Optics, University of Rochester and has been teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in geometrical optics, optical design, and product design for more than 15 years. She received her B.S., M.S., and PhD in Optics from the The Institute of Optics, University of Rochester. After graduating she spent two years at Hughes Aircraft Co. in California designing optical systems for the defense industry and then twelve years at Corning Tropel Corporation in Fairport, New York designing and manufacturing precision optical assemblies such as microlithographic inspection systems. She has experience designing a wide variety of optical systems from the UV to the IR, refractive and reflective configurations, for both the commercial and military markets.