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Enhancements to the Optimization Wizard in OpticStudio 17.5

OpticStudio 17.5 includes enhancements to the Optimization Wizard to make it easier to choose the right optimization method for your design. The performance of the generated merit functions has also been improved.
Chris Normanshire


We made several changes to the sequential Optimization Wizard in OpticStudio 17.5, so you can build better merit functions faster.

Improved organization of settings

Related settings are now grouped together in the Optimization Wizard so that it’s easier to set up merit functions. The Optimization Function group contains all the settings required to create the optical performance target for your system. For example, the Spatial Frequency setting used in Contrast Optimization is now located directly below the Criterion control, reducing the amount of mouse travel required and the possibility of important settings being overlooked.

Figure 1: The new layout of the Optimization Wizard

Simplified user interface of the Optimization Wizard

The number of optimization criteria types has been simplified for easier decision making; flexibility has not been reduced.

Figure 2: New Criterion list

Four criteria are now available in the Optimization Wizard:
  • Wavefront - Measures the aberration in waves. For use in minimizing the wavefront error in focal and afocal systems.
  • Contrast - Optimizes MTF using Contrast Optimization, a new capability introduced in OpticStudio 17. Contrast Optimization uses the Moore-Elliott method to target the best MTF response up to a desired spatial frequency.
  • Spot - Minimizes the spatial extent of the spot at the image plane. Computes both the X and Y extent of the transverse ray aberrations in image space. For use in focal systems.
  • Angular - Minimizes the angular extent of the beam at the image plane. Computes both the X and Y extent of the angular aberrations in image space. For use in afocal systems to create collimated beams.

Faster optimization

In OpticStudio 17, we introduced a faster optimization method for the Spot X+Y criterion. The Spot and Angular criteria in 17.5 use this improved method, which results in faster and smoother optimizations.

Removal of the Spot X, Spot Y, Spot X + Y, Angular Radius, Angular X, and Angular Y criteria

We combined similar options for optimization criteria. For the Spot and Angular criteria, you can now control the shape of the targeted spot or beam using the X Weight and Y Weight settings. The default value for these settings is 1, which has the same effect as the Spot or Angular Radius criteria in OpticStudio 17. These are the most common cases, so you do not need to adjust these weights for most merit functions.

Figure 3: Location of the new Optimization Function group settings compared to OpticStudio 17

To minimize the spot size in X only and to create a line focus, use the following settings:
  • Criterion:          Spot
  • X Weight:         1
  • Y Weight:         0

Figure 4: Setting to create Spot X merit function

You can use a similar methodology to target the following:
  • A beam collimated in Y only (Criterion = Angular, X Weight = 0, Y Weight = 1)
  • A focused spot with smaller size required in X than Y (Criterion = Spot, X Weight > Y Weight)


This article explains the enhancements made to the Optimization Wizard in OpticStudio 17.5 and how these changes make it easier to target the most common criteria more efficiently, without reducing the flexibility of the wizard.