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Freeform Optics

10 June 2019 – 12 June 2019 OSA, Washington, District of Columbia United States

Freeform Optics explores the evolving impact of freeform optical surfaces on optical systems for both imaging and illumination. New fabrication techniques that create optical surfaces that are not surfaces of revolution open an expansive new space for optical systems. Particularly enabled systems include illumination systems, head-worn displays and mid- and long-wave pervasive surveillance systems. But optical testing methods for these new surfaces are lacking, and the theory and implementation of an aberration theory as a basis for optical design of these surfaces was only unraveled in 2012. The scope features work on the optical design of imaging systems with freeform surfaces, evolving methods for surface representation for illumination system optimization and a perspective on the new challenges these surface present to optical testing.


With the ever expanding successes from the introduction of freeform surfaces into both imaging and nonimaging (illumination) optical systems, there is innovative work being done in both academia and industry in all areas of optical system evolution including,

  •     Optical design
  •     Optical system simulation
  •     Surface representation
  •     Fabrication
  •     Metrology
  •     Optical system assembly



  • Pablo Benítez, Universidad Politecnica de MadridSpain 
    Folded Freeform Optics for Virtual Reality Plenary
  • William Cassarly, Synopsys, IncUnited States 
    Interplay of Freeform Tailoring and Tolerancing
  • Dewen Cheng, Beijing Institute of TechnologyChina 
    Applications of Freeform Optics in Near-eye Displays
  • Angela Davies, Univ of North Carolina at CharlotteUnited States 
    Aligning Freeform Systems with Deflectometry
  • ZeXin Feng, Beijing Institute of TechnologyChina 
    Optimal Transport Theory to Simplify Freeform Design
  • Ulrike Fuchs, Asphericon GmbHGermany 
    Fabrication, Metrology and Alignment Challenges or Freeform Imaging Systems
  • Manal Khreishi, University of ArizonaUnited States 
    Freeform Surface Characterization and Instrument Alignment for Freeform Space Applications
  • Dae Wook Kim, University of ArizonaUnited States 
    Fabrication and Measurement of Large Scale Freeform Optics
  • Bernard Kress, Microsoft CorpUnited States 
    Freeform Optics for AR: From Free-space Combiners to Waveguide Grating Combiners
  • Vladimir Oliker, Emory UniversityUnited States 
    Freeform Optics and Supporting Quadric Method (SQM) for Illumination Design
  • Jonathan Papa, University of RochesterUnited States 
    Automatic Solution Space Exploration for Freeform Optical Design
  • Eckhard Roth, Carl Zeiss Jena GmbHGermany 
    Building Challenging Optical Systems with Alvarez Lenses
  • Alan Symmons, LightPath TechnologiesUnited States 
    Precision Glass Molding of Freeform Optics
  • Jan ten Thije Boonkkamp, Technische Universiteit EindhovenNetherlands 
    Illumination Freeform Design using Monge-Ampere Equations
  • Jun Zhu, Tsinghua UniversityChina 
    Construction-iteration Method for the Design of Freeform Reflection System



  • Jessica DeGroote Nelson, Optimax Systems Inc, United States , Chair
  • Fabian Duerr, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium , Chair
  • John Rogers, Synopsys, Inc, United States , Chair
  • Jannick Rolland, University of Rochester, United States , Chair
  • Aaron Bauer, University of Rochester, United States
  • Aleksandra Cvetkovic, LightTec GmbH, Germany
  • Matt Davies, Univ of North Carolina at Charlotte, United States
  • Scott Defisher, OptiPro Systems, United States
  • Ulrike Fuchs, Asphericon GmbH, Germany
  • Kyle Fuerschbach, Sandia National Laboratories Albuquerque, United States
  • Joseph Howard, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, United States
  • John Koshel, University of Arizona, United States
  • Roy McBride, PowerPhotonic Ltd, United Kingdom
  • Juan Carlos Miñano, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
  • Julius Muschaweck, JMO GmbH, Germany
  • Harvey Spencer, DRS Technologies, Inc, United States
  • Yongtian Wang, Beijing Institute of Technology, China
  • Rengmao Wu, Zhejiang University, China
  • Yongjun Xie, Xi'an Inst of Optics and Precision Mech
  • Xuejun Zhang, Changchun Inst of Optic, Fine Mech & Phy, China


Plenary Session

Amy Newbury

DigitalGlobe, Inc., USA

Building A Better World: A Real World Application of Optical Technology

Through DigitalGlobe’s maps and analytics, satellite imagery is used for an extensive set of applications. This paper shows how at Maxar Technologies, we use precision optics to fulfill our mission to “Build a Better World.”

Amy Newbury is a Director and Aerospace Fellow at DigitalGlobe, a Maxar Technologies company. She graduated with a PhD in Physics from Princeton University after which she was a National Research Council Post-Doctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. Since then, she has worked in the aerospace field, first at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, then as a Staff Consultant at Ball Aerospace. She has been at DigitalGlobe for the past 8 years. While at Ball Aerospace, she served as Lead Engineer for several programs including a NOAA sounder instrument study and for the LANDSAT Operational Land Imager instrument. At DigitalGlobe, she worked extensively on the suite of imagers on the Worldview-3 satellite. She is currently the Chief Instrument Engineer for the Legion constellation slated to launch in the 2021 timeframe, and continuesto explore future satellite missions aligned with Maxar's purpose to “Build a better world”.

Pablo Benítez

Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain

Folded Freeform Optics for Virtual Reality

Future virtual reality will require optics enabling much slimmer headsets, such as folded (catadioptric) architectures that will be reviewed here, from the classical pancake lens to the latest freeform multichannel Thineyes® solutions proposed by Limbak.

Pablo Benitez is professor at the Technical University of Madrid, Spain, where he leads the Optical Engineering group. In the last 20 years he has pioneered research in design of aspheric and freeform optics for nonimaging and imaging applications, specifically he is coinventor of the SMS optical design method. More recently, Pablo Benitez has cofounded and is CTO of Limbak, which is an IP company developing advanced freeform optics for the forthcoming VR and AR glasses.



Special Events

Professional Development

Moving Across Fields: From Academia to Industry and Back Again 
Tuesday, 11 June; 12:30-13:30

Navigating the change from academia to industry or from industry to academia is not always a straightforward path. Alexis Vogt, PhD, Chair and Associate Professor of Optics at Monroe Community College, will share her experiences moving between the two fields. 

Hosted by OSA Career Lab


The Future of Additive Manufacturing Technologies for Optical Applications
Tuesday, 11 June; 16:00-18:00

What role will additive manufacturing play in optical system design, material choices, and optical component fabrication?  Come join a panel of additive manufacturing technology leaders for an interactive discussion about what additive manufacturing can do for the optics community, industry, and academia.

Rebecca Dylla-Spears, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA
Joseph Howard, NASA Goddard, USA
Matthew Jenkins, Raytheon, USA
Michael Sweeney, General Dynamics, USA
Daniel Werdehausen, Carl Zeiss AG, Germany


Image for keeping the session alive