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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Easy-to-use software tools for teaching the basics, design and applications of optical components and systems
Author(s): Christoph Gerhard; Geoff Adams

Paper Abstract

Geometric optics is at the heart of optics teaching. Some of us may remember using pins and string to test the simple lens equation at school. Matters get more complex at undergraduate/postgraduate levels as we are introduced to paraxial rays, real rays, wavefronts, aberration theory and much more. Software is essential for the later stages, and the right software can profitably be used even at school. We present two free PC programs, which have been widely used in optics teaching, and have been further developed in close cooperation with lecturers/professors in order to address the current content of the curricula for optics, photonics and lasers in higher education. PreDesigner is a single thin lens modeller. It illustrates the simple lens law with construction rays and then allows the user to include field size and aperture. Sliders can be used to adjust key values with instant graphical feedback. This tool thus represents a helpful teaching medium for the visualization of basic interrelations in optics. WinLens3DBasic can model multiple thin or thick lenses with real glasses. It shows the system focii, principal planes, nodal points, gives paraxial ray trace values, details the Seidel aberrations, offers real ray tracing and many forms of analysis. It is simple to reverse lenses and model tilts and decenters. This tool therefore provides a good base for learning lens design fundamentals. Much work has been put into offering these features in ways that are easy to use, and offer opportunities to enhance the student’s background understanding.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 October 2015
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 9793, Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2015, 97930N (8 October 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2223079
Show Author Affiliations
Christoph Gerhard, HAWK, Univ. of Applied Sciences and Arts (Germany)
Geoff Adams, Optical Software Co. (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9793:
Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2015

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