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preferred optical design software

preferred optical design software

preferred optical design software

My company is looking into purchasing an optical designing software.  We will be looking for something that interfaces with Solidworks and can, most importantly, show ray traces so that we can optimize our opto-mechanical designs before "guessing" and just purchasing components.  Does anyone have a preferred software?  Any and all info would be helpful.

RE: preferred optical design software

We do it all with breadboard feasability testing.  A design software is something that we just recently thought about purchasing.

RE: preferred optical design software

I think Code V is still the Cadillac of optical design programs, Zemax might be more than adequate for your needs.


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RE: preferred optical design software

Does either of these softwares, or both, interface well with Solidworks?

RE: preferred optical design software

RE: preferred optical design software

I have been running OptisWorks Raytracing software within SolidWorks for a couple years now and we use it constantly. It has been an exellent tool for confirmation that the mechanical design has not comprimised our optical design. Our OE does his work in ZEMAX then hands the files over to me. I can import his data if I don't care to generate prints in our standard formats or I can recreate the optical path. It has some limitations for optical design as far as materials (such as GRIN lenses which ZEMAX will do) that it will not do but there are other Optis packages that will.

I have a demo license for a few more days of full blown OptisWorks that will provides a lot more data. Very cool for assembly modeling. I believe there are levels between the raytace add-in and the full package for optical design.

Best thing about the software is that unlike the dedicated optical programs like ZEMAX I can change the mechanical design and see the effect immediately and unlike imported files I can edit the optical components as parts.

Support from my Optis rep has been excellent.

SW2007 SP4.0 OPW2007 SP1.0

RE: preferred optical design software

Thank you all for your help.  I will do some more investigating into the different softwares.  I've contacted ASAP, Optisworks, TracePro, OptiCAD, Zemax, and Code V in order to get as much info as is possible on different packages so that we can make a decision based on what will work best for us.  If anyone has used or has has heard of someone using any of these other softwares and has positive or negative feedback on them, please share with me.
I appreciate all of your info.

RE: preferred optical design software

I deal with designs from Zemax and CodeV and am using SW so I have some insight that might help. Both optical codes allow you to export to some extent.
Zemax: 2d dxf, sat, step, iges (3d and linework)
CodeV: iges is the only I've tried

The biggest trick seems to be getting the rays to export with the lenses (in 3d). Neither of the codes do that too well in my opinion.

This is the way I do it:
If you I have a system that can be represented by a 2d drawing, and contains only spherical surfaces, then the 2d dxf export from Zemax works really well (with both optics and rays). If I have aspheres in the system then I have to export the lenses separately as a step (or SAT) then overlay the 2d dxf with the rays over top of that. Then you have an accurate representation of the rays (2d dxf) and the lenses (3d step).

I haven't had to deal with too many systems that have fold mirrors so I haven't worked out a process for those. But I think exporting as IGES linework works OK. I use this linework with the 3d optics (imported separately)


RE: preferred optical design software


I can appreciate what you are working with but I think kevindurr is looking for an interactive software so that the mechanical model can be altered and the effect on the optical path can be quantified. Our OE swears by his Zemax but it is difficult to make path modifications on the fly. SW makes it easy to alter the model for tolerance stacks, etc and OW will allow me to see if I've comprimised the system. My understanding is that TracePro will do that too but I haven't used it.

OW will also import Zemax directly including assigning material and surface definitions. I used to import the Zemax data as iges files (I was using MDT5 at the time) and always felt like I was missing a piece of the information. I like being able to confirm my models before metal starts getting cut.

I wouldn't try to do the job of our OE or replicate what he can do with Zemax but SW with OW is a dandy tool.

SW2007 SP4.0 OPW2007 SP1.0

RE: preferred optical design software

You are correct.  I'm looking to be able to check my mechanical design with optical elements to quantify the optical design and verify that it will give us the best results the first time.  I've done a lot of research on these different softwares.  I've com to the conclusion that Optisworks seems to be the best for our specific needs.  I've downloaded the 1 week trial.  I've never used any optical software before, but I was quickly able to generate ray traces and get good feedback for intensity and uniformity across a detector surface.  
Thank you to everyone that gave me info on this subject.  It has definitely helped with our decision.

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