Cherenkov Radiation Telescope modeling

  • 12 December 2022
  • 3 replies

Hi everyone

I’m trying out this forum for the first time! I am also relatively new to Zemax optics studio so please forgive me if any of this is out of context or obvious for the more experienced users. The question is if someone could give me some pointers on how to best model and optimise a Cherenkov Radiation Telescope. For those not familiar with the system the detector is used to identify particles by detecting the Cerenkov cone of light emitted at a precise angle by particles of a specific rest mass. The core components of the system are a Mangin mirror and a chromatic corrector that focus a ring of light in the image plane. See sketch below


It is not obvious to me what would the best way to build this system in zemax and, given that you end up with a ring instead of a spot, what would be the best way to optimise it. Is it maybe better/possible to start with a 2d system and work the way up to the 3D telescope?

Anyway, let me know if you need further input. I’m looking forward to hear any suggestions


Thanks in advance



Best answer by Mark.Nicholson 9 January 2023, 19:26

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3 replies

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

Hi @anlafuen,

This sounds like an interesting project! In general, it is a good strategy to first model the system in Sequential Mode since there are quite a number of analysis tools available. Then, as you need to consider more complex sources, detectors, scatterers, stray light, etc., you can port your design to Non-Sequential Mode and make further modifications as necessary.

Regarding the specifics for simulating the Cherenkov Telescope, you might find this journal reference helpful since it uses Zemax in its analysis: Simulating the optical performance of a small-sized telescope with secondary optics for the Cherenkov Telescope Array - ScienceDirect.

For your question about optimization given that the system forms a ring: it really depends on what you intend to optimize. Are you wanting a ring of a certain radius, or are you looking to minimize certain aberrations in your system? These are just a couple examples; for a complex system like this one, there are many specifications that you likely need to consider in developing a refined design.

As you start to navigate your design through OpticStudio, please let us know if you have any specific questions.


Hi Ethan!

Thanks a lot for your reply and the pointer. It is indeed a very interesting article with many commonalities to our problem. While I re-read it more in detail I’d like to take advantage and ask two specific questions in hope that you may be able to help with them:

  1. How would you model a source that, like in our case, generates light at a given angle all along the axis of the detector (in the image above you can say two of the rays being generated)
  2. Regarding the optimization point I would be merely interested in the equivalent of the point spread function but for a ring. Do you see a way of retrieving this information from Zemax or, else, setting up the problem in a way this information could be retrieved?  

Again, thanks for your input




Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Hey Antonio,

I’d suggest reaching out to Paul Manhart on this: He’s done some excellent work in this area.

  • Mark