Optical Engineering

Optical engineering uses classical optics techniques to create novel devices and instrumentation, and the College of Optical Sciences leads the field in designing and fabricating highly specialized optics. OSC maintains state-of-the-art facilities and a superb technical staff for grinding, polishing, measuring and aligning the world’s most challenging mirrors — including those for astronomical telescopes. Students work side-by-side with experienced professionals on extensive, distinctive projects like the Giant Magellan Telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and OSIRIS-REx, an unmanned space probe that will launch in 2016, land on an asteroid and return to Earth with a material sample.

To view past updates, see the Optical Engineering Updates Archive page.

What's New in Optical Engineering

Optical enhancement of diffraction efficiency of Texas Instruments phase light modulator by Talbot imaging-based pixel matching for infrared lidar beam steering

Date Published: February 22, 2022

Schematic optical system to enhance diffraction efficiency by employing Talbot i

Schematic optical system to enhance diffraction efficiency by employing Talbot image and light recycling.

Periodicity of the Computer Generated Holograms (CGHs) for beam steering makes it possible to utilize the Talbot self-phase-image of the CGH to enhance the diffraction efficiency in the infrared domain. First, the phase CGH pattern is displayed on Texas Instrument Phase Light Modulator (TI-PLM). The Talbot image formed by the periodic phase CGH is superimposed on top of the PLM itself by light recycling optics employing polarization. The architecture doubles phase modulation by a factor of two, which enables using TI-PLM designed for visible wavelength for infrared laser beam steering for lidar applications. View the Presentation at Photonics West 2022 here. Download the conference proceedings.

Authors include: Zhipeng Dong, Eunmo Kang, Jiafan Guan, Xianyue Deng, Chuan Luo, Yuzuru Takashima, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)

Here’s How OSC Is Creating One of the Most Powerful Telescopes on Earth

Date Published: June 22, 2021

College of Optical Sciences Research

Underneath the stands of the Arizona Wildcats Football Stadium, engineers of UArizona's Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab manufacture the world's largest and most lightweight telescope mirrors. At the center of the process is a giant spinning furnace, the only one of its kind. Damien Jemison, Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation

Researchers at the Wyant College of Optical Sciences (OSC) are helping to build what Daewook Kim, Ph.D., an OSC professor who specializes in optical engineering science, calls the “telescope of the future.” “We are trying to redefine what we can do on the ground in terms of looking at space,” Dr. Kim said. Intended to be one of the most powerful telescopes on Earth, the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will have a primary mirror 24 meters across, and it will be about 100 times more powerful in terms of light collection capability and enable 10 times higher imaging resolution than the Hubble Space Telescope. It will be installed at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, a location with good viewing conditions more than 300 nights a year.

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Gigapixel and 1440-perspective extended-angle display by megapixel MEMS-SLM

Date Published: November 6, 2020

Research from the Takashima Lab

(a), (c) Angle-dependent 3D renders made in Blender; (b), (d) corresponding projections. Humanoid by Michał Hokiroya Korczyk (artstation.com/hokiroya), and tiger by Daniel Bystedt (artstation.com/dbystedt). Artwork used with permission.

A recent publication from Takashima Lab., “Gigapixel and 1440-perspective extended-angle display by megapixel MEMS-SLM” demonstrates a drastic increase in pixel counts of a display device for AR/VR and lidar application. A novel time multiplexed and pulsed illumination method effectively squeezed giga-pixel (109 pixels) output from a commercially available mega-pixel (106 pixels) display device while routing image into different directions. The increased information and light routing mechanism enables high density image generation with lower power consumption and in a smaller form factor for AR/VR devices.

Additional Resources

Full Paper

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Single-chip holographic beam steering for lidar by a digital micromirror device with angular and spatial hybrid multiplexing

Date Published: July 27, 2020

A beam (colored green, not depicting wavelength)

A beam (colored green, not depicting wavelength) in incident onto a DMD, coarse-steered across 5 diffraction orders (colored red), and fine-steered by binary grating on DMD (not shown). The single positive cylindrical lens, filter array, and 3-element positive cylindrical lens array comprise the single-sideband filter. The final 5-element negative cylindrical array compensates for the FOV fill-factor

A recent publication from Takashima Lab., “Single-chip holographic beam steering for lidar by a digital micromirror device with angular and spatial hybrid multiplexing” was selected as an Editors’ Pick of Optics Express, July 2020 issue 15. The team demonstrated a novel single-chip lidar system by using a mass produced display device, Digital Micromirror Device. The system captures object location and distance with a high frame rate of 7.8 fps, and is expected to realize a solid-state lidar by using well-developed and mass-manufactured display devices. Read the full article.

Watch the movies here: Movie 1 | Movie 2

High-performance integral-imaging-based light field augmented reality display using freeform optics

Date Published: May 7, 2019

College of Optical Sciences Research

(a) The image of bench-top prototype with a quarter coin; (b) the 3D model of the binocular system worn on human head; and (c) the photograph of an integrated binocular prototype.

Hong Hua's 3-D Visualization and Imaging Systems Laboratory has developed a new integral-imaging-based light field augmented-reality display. This achieves a wide see-through view and high image quality over a large depth range using custom-designed freeform optics and a tunable lens and aperature array. This research creates a compact design for a head-mounted-display that offers a true 3D display. 

Effects of ray position sampling on the visual responses of 3D light field displays

Date Published: May 7, 2019

College of Optical Sciences Research

Schematic illustration and results of ray trace based on setup which has (a) infinitely high pixel resolution and (b) limited pixel resolution of the CDP. Not to scale.

This study, out of the Hong Hua laboratory, investigates the effects of light ray sampling on the quality of the rendered focus cues and the visual responses of a viewer in light field displays. Accoutning for both the specifications of a light field display system and the ocular factors of the human visual system the researchers systemiatically model and analyze the ray position sampling issue in the reconstruction of the light field. This characterizes the effect on the quality of the rendered retinal image and on the accomadative response in viewing a 3D light field display. Using a recently developed 3D light field display prototype, Hua's lab further validates the effects of ray position sampling on the resolution and accomodative response of a light field display that matches with theoretical characterizations. 

New Laser Beam Steering Technology for LIDARs

Date Published: June 5, 2018

The LIDAR system measures the position of a moving object.

The LIDAR system measures the position of a moving object.

A recent publication from the Takashima Lab on LIDAR is ranked as the 7th of the most downloaded papers in Optics Express in April 2018. The research team demonstrated a LIDAR system which remotely identifies location and distance of moving objects with a high sampling rate of 3.4K points/s. The new laser beam steering concept is expected to replace a bulky and slow scanning LIDAR system with a fast and light-weight one that can be a mass-produced Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS) device.

An example of how the LIDAR system measures the position of a moving object suspended from the ceiling.

LOFT Develops Instantaneous Phase Shifting Deflectometry Technology

Date Published: September 21, 2017

LOFT Deformable Mirror Test Configuration

Deformable mirror (DM) test configuration using the iPhone. Rays drawn in red arrows represent the time-reversed paths to show the as-used section of the screen.

The Large Optics Fabrication and Testing (LOFT) group under the lead of Dae Wook Kim has developed a new instantaneous deflectometry technology, which they implemented on an iPhone (see Trumper, Choi, and Kim, “Instantaneous Phase Shifting Deflectometry,” Optics Express 2017). This development enables high precision snapshot measurements of time-varying surfaces, such as a deformable mirror (example in figure) or active bending modes of a large optic. Phase shifting deflectometry now has the capability to measure dynamic optics.

Deformable Mirror Surface Measurement


Deformable mirror surface measurement made at ~10 Hz using instantaneous deflectometry implemented on an iPhone.


LOFT Develops Simultaneous Multi-Segmented Mirror Orientation Test System

Date Published: September 21, 2017

Simultaneous Multi-segmented mirror Orientation Test System

Simultaneous Multi-segmented mirror Orientation Test System

The Large Optics Fabrication and Test (LOFT group PI: Dae Wook Kim) group developed the Simultaneous Multi-segmented mirror Orientation Test System for segmented optics application (H. Choi, I. Trumper, M. Dubin, W. Zhao, and D. W. Kim, Opt. Express 25, 18152-18164 (2017).) The localized 2D sinusoidal patterns are displayed on the screen and the CMOS camera captures the images reflected from each segment. Due to its high computing efficiency and accuracy (15 Hz, 0.8 µrad), it allows a dynamic monitoring and controlling of a multi-segmented optics system or a closed-loop optical system with a long-term stability requirement.

Simultaneous Multi-segmented mirror Orientation Test System

Aspheric Metrology Laboratory

Date Published: November 20, 2014

Interferogram of test sample.

Left: Partial view of instrument for acquiring corneal topography. Right: Interferogram of a test sample.

The Aspheric Metrology Laboratory headed by John E. Greivenkamp designs and builds advanced interferometric systems for metrology and optical testing. Research interests include ophthalmic and visual optics, ophthalmic instrumentation and measurements, interferometry and optical testing of aspheric and freeform surfaces, optical fabrication, optical system design, optical metrology systems, distance measurement systems, sampled imaging theory, and optics of electronic imaging systems.

3-D Visualization and Imaging Systems Laboratory

Date Published: November 20, 2014

Realistic 3-D display cues

Demonstration of realistic cues for 3-D displays.

Hong Hua's 3-D Visualization and Imaging Systems Laboratory specializes in a wide variety of optical technologies enabling advanced 3-D displays, 3-D visualization systems and collaborative immersive virtual and augmented environments, and novel imaging systems for medicine and surveillance applications. The 3DVIS Lab also uses 3-D displays to better understand human visual perception and visual artifacts and investigates design principles for effective human-computer interface in augmented environments.

Milster Lab

Date Published: November 20, 2014

Lithography tool

Left: Lithography tool. Right: Measurement of micro-optical structure fabricated by Milster lab.

Tom D. Milster's research aims to "push the boundaries of optical science and engineering to produce the maximum amount of information from a given volume of space and time." His group designs, simulates and fabricates custom computer-generated holograms, Diffractive Optical Elements, phase structures and amplitude masks. They investigate hyper-numerical-aperture linear and nonlinear microscopy, where the NA is greater than 1.5 and evanescent waves provide resolution well beyond conventional microscope limits. They are also interested in the development of "freeform" holography, with DOEs adding function and utility to 3-D structures. Unique instruments in the lab include a vacuum-ultraviolet microscope at the 121.6-nanometer wavelength and a high-resolution infrared microscope for determining subcellular metabolism. Research applications include industrial inspection, graphene characterization, metamaterial testing, data storage, lithography, and bio-film and subcellular imaging.

Optical Design Laboratory

Date Published: November 20, 2014

wide-field projection system

Lens design of wide-field and hyper-high-numerical-aperture projection system.

José Sasián's Optical Design Laboratory conducts research in optical design, including imaging and nonimaging systems; optical aberration theory and novel methods for aberration correction; illumination optics; aspheric surfaces; optical testing methods and modeling; optomechanics; optics for lithography; microscope design; optics for visual systems; light in gemstones; and modeling light propagation in optical systems.

Ophthalmic and Visual Optics Laboratory

Date Published: November 20, 2014

visual assessment screen

Specialized screen for visual assessment.

The Ophthalmic and Visual Optics Laboratory led by Jim Schwiegerling designs and fabricates instrumentation for assessing various properties of the human eye. These devices include wavefront sensors for measuring aberrations of the eye and topographers for measuring the three-dimensional geometry of the corneal surface. The lab has developed novel retinal imaging techniques incorporating both polarimetric and spectroscopic measurement of the retinal tissue. Schwiegerling’s group is also expanding usage of these core technologies to address needs in the fields of optical design and testing, biometric identification and computational photography.

Takashima Laboratory

Date Published: November 20, 2014

College of Optical Sciences Research

The Takashima Lab is currently working on Digital Holographic Data Storage, Imaging and Long-Range LIDAR, Near to Eye Displays, Photonic Channeled X-Ray Detetector Arrays, Free-Space Optical Communications, Ray Aberration Generators and Micro-Vertical Light Couplers.

Yuzuru Takashima's laboratory constructs innovative optical devices through a wide spectrum of optical science and engineering techniques. Research topics include the design and fabrication of nanophotonic devices, micro-optics, network-based optical input-output devices, and optical and holographic information storage. Among additional areas of interest are X-ray phase contrast imaging, ultrawide field-of-view imaging, micromirror fabrication, CMOS-compatible packaging for silicon photonics and heads-up displays for mobile applications.