Fundamental Optical Design (6 ECTS), Helsinki region

Course description
The aim of the course is to teach the fundamentals of optical design, especially to provide theoretical foundations of geometrical optics combined with basic design examples. After this course you will have the required theoretical and practical skills to start optical design.  


Written material is in English, speaking language depending on the participants, either English or Finnish.

Participants have to have own computers during the course. During the course participants should have at least a spreadsheet program available. As teaching software the optical design and optimization program WinLens3D will be used. The price of the full version is approximately 500 €. The participants can download a free version called WinLens3D Basic, which has all the functions of the full version except for the optimization module. Download free version.

Any other optical design program possibly available can be used.

Content description
Note that detailed plan may change depending on participant’s wishes

  1. Fundamentals of geometrical optics, plane waves, refraction and reflection, limits of ray optics
  • The behavior of an electromagnetic wave at the boundary of media is the foundation of geometrical optics.
  • Optical applications depend on the refraction and reflection of waves.
  • The polarization of the wave affects its behavior at boundaries.
  • Applications are based on both the ray properties and the wave properties of the electromagnetic wave. The conditions for those and the limits of them are examined.
  1. Lenses and mirrors, the paraxial approximation, ray tracing, aberrations
  • Function of lenses in the paraxial approximation and away from the lens axis.
  • Function of mirrors.                      
  • Ray tracing through spherical surfaces and general surfaces
  • The principal lens quantities.
  • Aberrations of optical imaging: geometrical and chromatic aberrations.

3. Optical systems, matrix description, system quantities

  • Principal quantities of optical systems.
  • Matrix description of the paraxial approximation.
  • Matrix description of optical systems.
  • System focal points, focal lengths and principal planes.
  • Using an optimization program.

4. Radiometry and photometry
-    Origin of radiation, spectrum of optical radiation.

  • Black-body radiation.
  • Radiation sources.
  • Photometry, photometric measurements.
  • Color description, color coordinates.
  • Light detectors.

5. Optical materials and components

  • Lenses and windows.
  • Mirrors.
  • Polarizers and beamsplitters.
  • Filters.
  • Prisms.
  • Optomechanics.
  • Optical glasses.
  • Optical plastics.
  • Commercial supply.

6. Optical equipment, optical measurements

  • Loupes and magnifiers.
  • Achromatic lenses.
  • Photographic objectives.
  • Telescopes and eyepieces
  • Microscopes.
  • Focal length determination.
  • Luminaires.
  • Illumination measurements.

7. Gaussian beams
-    Solution of wave equation

  • Geometry of Gaussian beams.
  • Lasers.

8. Principles and tools of optical design

  • System design, fixing specifications.
  • Optical design.
  • Mechanical design.
  • Electronics design.

9. Phases of implementation

  • Production: in house, outsourcing.
  • Suppliers, subcontractors.
  • Assembly, quality check.
  • Testing equipment and routines.
  • Outsourcing testing.

10. Design exercises

  • Achromatic doublet.
  • Petzval camera objective.
  • Aspheric lens.

11. Practical design examples

  • Merident Oy, dental loupe and led-based surgican light
  • Temet Instruments Oy, (presently Gasmet Technologies Oy) Fourier spectrometer optics.
  • Merivaara Oy, surgical lamp series Merilux 1, 3 and 5.
  • Hella AG, bicycle lamp Hella HL 9600 Night Laser
  • Planmeca Oy, optics for dental camera Intracam.
  • Metorex International Oy, diffraction grating for metal analysis spectrometer ArcMet 8000
  • Oy Sabik Ab, lens design for led-based marine lanterns.
  • Obelux Oy, lenses for led-based aviation obstruction lights.
  • SAAS Instruments Oy, small lenses for led-based luminaires (saunas, kitchens, etc.)
  • Add-on telephoto module for cell phone.
  • Numerous smaller and ongoing projects.


Target group
Persons from companies and research institutes who want to start optical design or need to learn the fundamentals of optical design.

High school level physics and mathematics. College or university level basic mathematics, especially, trigonometry, differential and integral calculus fundamentals, vector analysis and matrix theory fundamentals. Also, basic knowledge of optics.

All items are treated in the lectures, including formula derivations (very complicated ones skipped). The subject matter is illustrated with numerous examples and exercises. At the end of the lectures several basic but representative design examples are treated in detail.

Kesto, laajuus ja rakenne

Schedule and place

Mon-Tue 9.-10.3.2020
Mon-Tue 23.-24.3.2020
Mon-Tue 30.-31.3.2020
Mon-Tue 20.-21.4.2020

Training will be held in the Helsinki region. Places are:

9.-10.3. Dipoli (Otakaari 24), Palaver
23.3. Kandidaattikeskus (Otakaari 1), U406b
24.3. Dipoli, Palaver
30.3. Kandidaattikeskus U406b
31.3. Maarintie 8 (TUAS-talo) TU3
20.-21.4. Dipoli, Palaver


Study format and computer programs
Contact teaching and contact exercises. Every training day will include 4 hours lectures and 2 hours exercises. Total amount of lectures 32 hours and 16 hours exercises.  

Hinta, osallistujamäärä

Price and number of participants

  • Price 5 500€ + VAT, Company

  • Price 5 000€ + VAT, Company if member of Photonics Finland

  • Price 4 200€ + VAT, Universities and research institutes

  • 10% discount if more than one person from the same organization

Price includes teaching, course materials, certificate of participation and coffees twice per day

  • 5-20 participants


Contact information

Sara Peltola
Institute of Photonics

Riitta Sutinen
Koulutus- ja kehittämispalvelu Aducate



Enroll before 21.2.2020.


Limited spots!


Additional information


Folke Stenman (MSc (Eng.), Lic. Tech., D.Sc. (Tech)). He has been working in optical design since the 1960s. He has been a docent of physics, associate professor and professor at the Department of Physics at the University of Helsinki. Teaching experience in optics and optical design, molecular physics and quantum chemistry, quantum mechanics, molecular spectroscopy, analog electronics, digital electronics, control theory, digital signal analysis, spectral analysis, acoustics, physical measurements and analysis of results, and basic physics.

Folke Stenman's strong theoretical knowledge supports the design of practical applications of photonics, of which he has experience since the 1970s. He has designed, among other things, LED-based lenses for Oy Sabik Ab marine, Merivaara Oy Surgical Light, Gasmet Technologies Oy Infrared Spectrometer Optics and Sample Cuvette Optics, and Planmeca Oy Intracam Camera Design. The total turnover of the equipment designed by Folke Stenman since 1996 is around € 600 million.

Note that course content may vary depending on the wishes of the participants. Participants can influence daily structure.
Participants in Fundamental of Optics Design course have privilege to register Zemax OpticsStudio: Optical System Design course which will be organized if required amount of participants is enroled.  


Järjestetään yhteistyössä

ADUCATE - CENTRE FOR TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT is an expert organisation of the University of Eastern Finland, which employs about 70 educational professionals. We train and coach 15 000 learners during the year. Our training is based on the strengths of our university and the exploitation of the latest scientific knowledge.

Institute of Photonics combines all research and education in optics and photonics at the University of Eastern Finland. It provides a unique combination of expertise and facilities in photonics from theory to manufacturing and applications.

The Flagship on Photonics Research and Innovation (PREIN) is one of the six Finnish Flagships, a northern fleet of excellent science, successful collaboration and solutions for tomorrow. The Flagship program managed by the Academy of Finland provides a new and unique way for R&D&I in Finland. It supports future knowledge and sustainable solutions to societal challenges and seeks to advance economic growth by developing new business opportunities

Aalto University is a multidisciplinary community of bold thinkers, where science and art meet technology and business. Aalto University is committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future.

Photonics Finland is a technology oriented association that drives the photonics industry in Finland by connecting Finnish photonics companies, research centers, and public authorities. Photonics Finland supports the development of the photonics field from basic research through to the deployment and market launch of products. It is the single point of contact for photonics ecosystem in Finland.