Lens Design Reminisces

Eckhardt Optics LLC uses Zemax, CodeV, SYNOPSYS and OSLO for lens design. We are familiar with several other programs, having cut our teeth on ACCOSV (using a card reader and line printer connected to a CDC7600 mainframe!) followed by a few years using CodeV, GENII and Michael Kidger’s Sigma program.  Our president went to school with Ken Moore, the author of Zemax, and has been using this program for two decades.

Our experience in lens design ranges from pickup lenses for optical drives to 4 meter telescopes. More recently, we’ve designed projection lenses, panoramic lenses, conoscopic lenses and lenses for illumination.

One interesting project involved designing a reconnaissance lens (not a reflecting system) to be used from the visible to 12 microns.  The only material that would transmit well over the entire range was diamond, but CVD diamond was looking promising at the time, so that was our material of choice.  As far as we know, the lens was never fabricated.

Source Code

Just for fun, we collect source code for old optical design programs. In our library we have the following programs:

  • LENSII & COP (David Grey)
  • Eikonal (Juan Rayces)
  • KDP (James Klein)
  • Modularized Automatic Lens Design Program (Josef Meiron)
  • POSD (Pilkington?)
  • V15 (Imperial College?)
  • FOLDP (NASA)(printout only)

If you have some old lens design code lying around, I’d love to have a copy.  We’re into swapping code and yarns with anyone who’s been in the industry for a couple decades or so.  Call us at (651)315-8249.  We do Skype if you’re overseas, but you’ll have to use the Contact Us form to get our user name.