Zemax Product Team wants to know: Working with stock optics

  • 11 February 2022
  • 7 replies
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My team is currently looking into improving our stock optics features, and we want users’ feedback to help direct our efforts. If you use off-the-shelf optical components in your design, we’d like to hear from you!

Please comment below with a summary of how you use stock optics in your design. In particular, I’d like to know your answers to the following:

  1. What are the types of systems you design using stock optics? Within those systems, which types of stock optics do you use (e.g. lenses, filters, prisms, splitters, etc.)?
  2. Describe your design workflow. At what point in your design do you start considering stock optics, i.e. do you start with specific optic(s) you already have in hand or do you wait until the final design and then search for the optics closest to your specification?
  3. After you have identified the optics you need for a system, how do you search for each component (for all types of components, not just lenses)?
  4. Do you tend to order from one specific vendor or shop around multiple suppliers? Why?
  5. What are you biggest motivators when purchasing stock optics, e.g. price, availability, performance, etc.?

Please respond by end of February. We may reach out to you via email if we have more questions.

 

 


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7 replies

  1. Just symple systems with low tolerances. Because unique optics not able to use with stock.
  2. Both cases. Sometimes searh for the stock optics at the beginning. Sometimes at the end of design.
  3. Just search via built-in Zemax feature.
  4. No tend. Use different suppliers, because this inreses the range of search.
  5. Availablity of cource. I can fast implement the componets in the system.

IMPORTANT NOTE. Zemax do not have the catalog of illumination optics like TIR lenses, streetlight lenses. Vendors like LEDIL, Carclo, Khatod propose optics to buy, but I can’t simulate any of them.

My proposal was develop the feature like blackbox, which hide the exact geometry from the user, but allow non-sequential raytrace.

 


 

It is very rare that I’ll design custom reflective or refractive optics. I almost always use off the shelf to save time and money. There are several things that could help.

  1. Allow material choices in the stock optic searched. For example, I was looking for BaF2 optics (for VIS and IR), all of them from any and all vendors. I had to use the Zemax API with Mathematica to do this. Another way to implement this could be to search for optics with at least X% transmission/mm thickness over a range of wavelength from Y to Z.
  2. Allow AR coating choices. If I only want optics with AR coating for the visible, then let me exclude everything else. This could be even more useful if I could select a maximum X% reflectance per surface over a range of incidence angles and wavelengths.
  3. Cost “estimate” is another variable that would be nice, even if we know this cannot be kept up to date. I always want to deliver on the optical requirements at the lowest cost.
  4. Index of refraction is another important variable when trying to correct for aberrations. If that is not possible, then perhaps the material (see 1. above).

While I applaud the attempt to make improvements to the Lens Catalog search abilities, I would also appreciate having direct access to all of the information in the library from Mathematica, Python and Excel.

Thanks,

Derek


I just thought of another "would be nice to have" and that is "Delivery". If something is going to take six months, I'm not going to design with it. Thorlabs in-stock optics usually arrive in 24-48 hours. I like to design, build and test systems in rapid succession. I can't do that if optics take too long to arrive.

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Hi Tom,

To answer one at a time:

  1. Three types of systems: a) Lab apparatus where the system specifications are loose enough to help in fitting the optics; b) Proof-of-concepts prototypes for relatively low performance systems. where again system specs are flexible for the prototype; c) laser beam expanders for which there are specific OTS parts available.
  2. For a and b I typically design first and then search for suitable matches. For c I know from fundamentals CA and EFL and look for the parts first. In the past I’ve found some of these missing from the ZOS catalog. 
  3. I search using the ZOS stock lens matching first. Except for some laser parts (ThorLabs?) where I’ve found they were missing in ZOS stock lens matching.
  4. Mostly from ThorLabs, CSI Laser Optics, Edmund, Newport.
  5. Best system component. I’m looking for something that will be most suitable in spite of being OTS.

What are the types of systems you design using stock optics? Within those systems, which types of stock optics do you use (e.g. lenses, filters, prisms, splitters, etc.)?

1) mostly camera and collimator system for alingment main optical system

1.1) Lenses, not flat mirrors, fiber collimators

 

Describe your design workflow. At what point in your design do you start considering stock optics, i.e. do you start with specific optic(s) you already have in hand or do you wait until the final design and then search for the optics closest to your specification?

2)I had 2 cases

a) exist custom lens with parallel beam at exit. Need take beam from this lens and send this to detector. only 1-2 system for aligment main optical system 

b) exist custom lenses need replace maximum lenses. for production lenses

 

After you have identified the optics you need for a system, how do you search for each component?

3) after understanding diameter and effl. look to thorlabs, EO and try put few of them. try to use zemax stock lens function

 

Do you tend to order from one specific vendor or shop around multiple suppliers? Why?

4) For many interesting for swishing up performance. As much as possible with low time for waiting components (less than week)

 

What are you biggest motivators when purchasing stock optics, e.g. price, availability, performance, etc.?

5) for prototypes: Cut manufacturing time , then perfomance, then price

for mass product: perfomance, price, time

 

PS this links also related probably

https://community.zemax.com/got-a-question-7/stock-lens-matching-tool-lens-flip-side-1207

https://opg.optica.org/abstract.cfm?uri=IODC-2014-IW1A.6

https://opg.optica.org/oe/fulltext.cfm?uri=oe-29-24-39027&id=464692

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1506.08956.pdf

1) I mostly design spectrometers (using stock achromatic doublets, gratings, bandpass filters, and multi-element imaging lenses) and sensor heads (reimaging fibers on to a target sample using stock achromats, aspheres, and dichroic filters).

2) I'll typically start a design with paraxial lenses so i can easily adjust and optimize focal lengths, and then swap in stock optical elements, one at a time, to see how the system performance changes. I agree with earlier commenters' suggestions that it would be great to have a search tool built into OpticStudio that will find candidate stock lenses of a given focal length, clear aperture, wavelength range, and type (singlet/doublet/triplet/asphere/complex). Filtering for price range and availability would also be quite useful. 

3 and 4) My current method is to use the search tools at Thorlabs, Edmund, and Optosigma websites to find the lens, mirror, or grating needed for each location in the design. For filters, I usually find what I need at Iridian or Semrock (but my system simulations aren’t sophisticated enough to use spectral response data for the filters -- I just model the substrate with I.999999 coatings).

5) Performance is usually the main driving factor for final component selection -- how well does a stock optic emulate the perfect paraxial lens that I start the design with. Availability is also important, even more so now with the pandemic supply chain disruptions -- I can't wait more than a week or two for optics to arrive. Lower price is always better, or course, as long as performance is not compromised.

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  1. I use stock optics in our proof of concept/lab setups.  These involve lenses, beamsplitters, and mirrors.
  2. The decision to use stock optics comes at the very beginning of designing these systems
  3. I have searched for the lens components in the suppliers online catalogs because most of my design limitations require specific materials and there is no way to search stock optics based on materials in ZOS.
  4. I would normally order from a short list of suppliers that use the appropriate materials I am looking for.
  5. My biggest parameter for choosing specific optics is performance only.  Because these are one-off lab setups, price doesn’t enter into it much.  I’m always schedule-driven and performance-minded much more than price-driven.
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@Anatoli.Trafimuk @RayBender @Chris.Svec @bradfordbehr @David @Aleksandr.Makarov

Thank you all very much for your replies. I really appreciate your input. This feedback will help us shape the future of our stock optic functionality.