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Colloquia & Guest Speakers


Optical design with freeform optics in imaging applications

Dr. Aaron Bauer

The Institute of Optics, University of Rochester

Monday, March 15, 2021
3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Zoom Virtual Setting

Abstract:  The desire for more compact optical systems, higher resolution imaging, and/or greater etendue has driven interest into emerging optical technologies such as freeform optics.  Over the past decade, the ability to fabricate and measure freeform optics has improved dramatically and, as a result, optical systems utilizing freeform optics have gained significant traction in the optical design community.  However, even with today’s fabrication and testing capabilities, the complexity and possible cost of freeform optics remain a barrier to more widespread adoption and it is the role of the optical designer to lower that barrier by designing systems that are more easily manufactured.  Here, I will introduce freeform optics and give of brief history of their use.  Then, I will describe a method to design systems with freeform optics with manufacturability in mind and demonstrate that method during the design of a three-mirror freeform telescope.

Freeform Optics

Bio:  Dr. Aaron Bauer is a Senior Research Engineer at The Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester where he investigates the latest optical design topics.  Aaron graduated with a BS in physics from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and completed his doctorate in Optics at the University of Rochester in 2016.  In 2020, he received the OSA Kevin P. Thompson Optical Design Innovator Award for his theoretical, creative, and innovative design methods for freeform optics. Aaron holds 2 US patents and is an author of 20 peer-reviewed articles and a book chapter on AR/VR.


Recorded Talk