New Course: Augmented Reality Display Waveguide Design

May 4, 2022
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A new course is being offered at the Wyant College on Augmented Reality Display Waveguide Design. OPTI 574: Physical Optics Modeling will be taught by Eric Fest ( from Meta Platforms Reality Labs and Wyant College Professor Jim Schwiegerling ( The course will be offered live online on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. in the Fall 2022 semester. Course Flyer.

Course Description:

This course will introduce the basics of designing diffractive waveguides for augmented reality (AR) displays. Course topics will include an overview of widely-used architectures for stereoscopic AR displays, a review of the basic physics (such as the definitions of photometric units) necessary to design them, an introduction to their basic performance metrics, and introduction to the Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis and Kogelnik algorithms used to compute grating efficiency, an introduction to the 3 basic steps in waveguide design (k-space layout, spatial layout, grating optimization) and how to perform these steps to design both surface-relief-grating-based and volume-Bragg-grating based waveguides. Homework assignments will be done using VirtualLab, a commercially available optical design tool. This course will also discuss waveguide fabrication techniques (such as photolithographic etching and volume hologram exposure) and the test equipment used to measure waveguide performance. The final project will be to design a high-performance waveguide for an industrial or commercial application. Commercially available AR headsets will be demonstrated in class.