Optics Lab is a full featured Optical Design and Analysis program with advanced features at an affordable price. Unlike other programs, technical support is always free. Optics Lab has been on the market since 1993.


Optics Lab allows you to evaluate the performance of optical systems quickly and easily. The Windows interface makes it possible to start using the program immediately because there are no obscure commands to learn. All options are available from menus or dialog boxes. You may place optics anywhere on the computer screen and the software will trace rays through the optics automatically. It's easy to make a change to your optical system and see the effects because all displays are updated automatically.

Optics Lab is a non-sequential ray tracing program. Most ray tracing programs use sequential ray tracing which requires the user to specify the order of the optical surfaces. Optics Lab automatically determines which surface a ray will strike next. Rays may follow any path and may even strike the same surface many times. Ray intercepts are computed automatically for each ray. Total internal reflection is treated properly. Optics may be located anywhere. Beam splitters will produce new rays automatically. Surfaces may scatter. Ghost images may be evaluated. Sequential ray tracing programs can't do these things.

Optics Lab provides solid models for optics. This is an advanced feature available in very few programs. When you select an optic from the menu you get all the surfaces for a real optic. For example if you select a lens you get a solid object with a front surface, a back surface, and a cylinder around the edge. A cube beam splitter has seven surfaces! With most programs you would have to enter all seven separately and get all the surface angles correct. Optics Lab does it all for you. If you wish, you can construct your own optical elements.

Optics Lab includes automatic optimization. This feature varies selected parameters of the optical system (such as lens radii, glass type, and thickness) to produce the best possible image.

Optics Lab allows simulation of opto-mechanical devices with control signals developed from simulated detector outputs (quad cell, CCD, and single detectors). Position, tilt, and other parameters may be controlled. Analog or digital filters may be specified for developing the control signals. The output is displayed in an oscilloscope style display. Rays are traced through the optical system, the control signals are calculated, and then the position or tilt of the optical element is updated. The user-selected outputs are displayed and then the whole process is repeated.

Basic Operation

Just click on a menu to add any optical element to the display. A 3D view of each optic is shown. Rays are traced automatically. Optics may be moved by dragging them with the mouse or entering coordinates. Dialog boxes make it easy to change parameters (reasonable default values are provided for all parameters). Six colors of light may be traced at once. 120 optical elements may be used at once. Optical elements may be offset and rotated in any direction.


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Specifications are subject to change without notice.