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Short Course

Applying Freeform Optical Surfaces in Imaging Optics (SC1122)

Course Level: Intermediate
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This course explains the new concepts and methods that are important when considering whether and how to incorporate freeform optical surfaces in an optical system design. A primary goal of this course is to demonstrate through examples where freeform surfaces can revolutionize an optical system design and where they cannot. Important new perspectives in optical design and analysis will be presented along with specific design methodologies. Anyone contemplating or experimenting with adding freeform surfaces to their optical design repertoire will benefit from taking this course.


This course will enable you to:
  • decide whether freeform optical surfaces will improve your imaging optical system
  • incorporate Zernike polynomials into your tool set for optical design and analysis
  • expand your optical design and analysis perspectives to explicitly include field dependence in 2-dimensions
  • learn the role of nodal aberration theory in the design of imaging optical systems with freeform surfaces
  • decide what types of image correction can be enabled by freeform surfaces
  • strategize where to place a freeform surface in an optical system to optimize its impact
  • get a perspective on the state of the industry for the representation, fabrication, and testing of freeform surfaces
  • see one of the first all freeform surface imaging optical systems


Scientists, engineers, technicians, or managers who wish to learn more about whether freeform optical surfaces will impact their product development. Undergraduate or on the job training in optical design or engineering is assumed and some experience with computer-aided optical design or analysis will be very helpful.

About the

Jannick Rolland is the Brian J. Thompson professor of optical engineering at the University of Rochester, Institute of Optics and the Director of the NSF I/UCRC Center for Freeform Optics (CeFO). She has been working at the leading edge of rotationally nonsymmetric optical design, particularly for head worn displays, for more than two decades. She has published over 15 papers related to optical design methods for freeform optics in imaging applications. She earned a Ph.D. in Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. Prof. Rolland is a Fellow of both the SPIE and the OSA.


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