Freeform Optics Incubator Meeting

OSA Incubator Meetings

Freeform Optics Incubator Meeting

30 October – 1 November, 2011
OSA Headquarters
Washington, DC, USA

Topics Discussed
Sessions and Talks
List of Confirmed Attendees



OSA Freeform Optics Topical Meeting 2013
Freeform Optics at FiO 2014


Topics Discussed:

Freeform Surfaces
The science of optical design, fabrication, and testing emerged at the end of the 19th century notably when Schott, Abbe, and Zeiss combined to first engineer optical glass and then design new optical systems, starting with microscopes, cameras, and binoculars.  For over 100 years optical surfaces were made with essentially the same process, still in use today, of pitch polishing laps moving over rotating spindles containing the glass to be fabricated to make either spherical surfaces or rotationally symmetric aspheres defined by power series coefficients introduced in a patent assigned to Abbe in 1899.

Suddenly, in the new millennium, we find MRF polishing, slow-servo diamond turning, and even raster cutting has revolutionized the shape of optical surfaces and left optical design and optical testing scrambling to catch up.  At this point, we have not even agreed on what a freeform surface is, but  just defined it by what it is not (as a non-rotational to non-cylindrical surface). The potential of these new degrees of freedom is difficult to foresee yet and its exploration is already started in the optical community. This new field brings us many new challenges for design, manufacturing and testing, and the discussion in this incubator meeting will focus on facing them.

Each participant is strongly encouraged to submit one slide that summarizes their work or interests in freeform optics to the two hosts ( and The submitted slides will be brought forward by the hosts to stimulate discussion.

Featured Topics

  1. Theory and design in imaging
  2. Theory and design in non-imaging
  3. Fabrication and testing

The Sessions and Talks

  1. Theory and Design in Imaging I
    Greg. Forbes, QED Corp., “Characterizing freeform shapes”
    Greg Fasshauer, Illinois Institute of Technology, “Smooth Radial Basis Functions Viewed as a Generalization of Multivariate Polynomials”

  2. Theory and Design in Imaging II
    Norbert Kerwien, Carl Zeiss Corp., “Freeform surfaces – Practical Added Value for Imaging Systems?!”

  3. Theory and Design in Non-imaging I
    Juan C. Miñano, Univ. Politécnica de Madrid and LPI, “SMS 3D: A Free-form Optics Design Method”
    Vladimir Oliker, Emory University, “Differential Equation Methods and Freeform Surfaces”

  4. Theory and Design in Non-imaging II
    William Cassarly, “The Art of Tailoring Freeform Surfaces for Illumination”

  5. Fabrication and Testing I
    Gregg Davis, II-VI Corporation, “Current techniques for diamond machining freeform optics” *
* = To be confirmed and/or determined

Confirmed Attendees

Miguel Alonso, Dan Bajuk, Aaron Bauer, Axel Bauerle, Pablo Benitez, Julie Bentley, Marina Buljan, Stephen Burns, Ozan Cakmacki, Cristina Canavesi, William Cassarly, Jasmin Cote, Gregg Davis, Michael Descour, Fabian Duerr, Jonathan Ellis, Fengzhou Fang, Steve Fantone, Gregory Fasshauer, Erin Fleet, Gregory Forbes, Florian Fournier, Kyle Fuerschbach, Alan Hedges, Gary Herrit, Joseph Howard, Hong Hua, Norbert Kerwien, Bob Kestner, Chris Koliopoulos, John Koshel, James McGuire, Christoph Menke, Juan Minano, David Mohring, Julius Muschaweck, Vladimir Oliker, Phil Pressel, Harald Ries, Andrew Riser, Jeffrey Roblee, John Rogers, Jannick Rolland, Daniel Smith, Ralf Steinkopf, William Sweatt, Anthony Tanbackuchi, Kevin Thompson, Marc Tricard, Lin Wang, David Williamson