Handbook of Optical Design: 3rd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Handbook of Optical Design

3rd Edition

By Daniel Malacara-Hernández, Zacarías Malacara-Hernández

CRC Press

585 pages | 32 Color Illus. | 393 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2013-02-20
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Handbook of Optical Design, Third Edition covers the fundamental principles of geometric optics and their application to lens design in one volume. It incorporates classic aspects of lens design along with important modern methods, tools, and instruments, including contemporary astronomical telescopes, Gaussian beams, and computer lens design. Written by respected researchers, the book has been extensively classroom-tested and developed in their lens design courses.

This well-illustrated handbook clearly and concisely explains the intricacies of optical system design and evaluation. It also discusses component selection, optimization, and integration for the development of effective optical apparatus. The authors analyze the performance of a wide range of optical materials, components, and systems, from simple magnifiers to complex lenses used in photography, ophthalmology, telescopes, microscopes, and projection systems. Throughout, the book includes a wealth of design examples, illustrations, and equations, most of which are derived from basic principles. Appendices supply additional background information.

What’s New in This Edition

  • Improved figures, including 32 now in color
  • Updates throughout, reflecting advances in the field
  • New material on Buchdahl high-order aberrations
  • Expanded and improved coverage of the calculation of wavefront aberrations based on optical path
  • An updated list of optical materials in the appendix
  • A clearer, more detailed description of primary aberrations
  • References to important new publications
  • Optical system design examples updated to include newly available glasses
  • 25 new design examples

This comprehensive book combines basic theory and practical details for the design of optical systems. It is an invaluable reference for optical students as well as scientists and engineers working with optical instrumentation.


"An excellent update to an excellent book. A comprehensive handbook on optical design and geometrical optics that covers the basic theory as well as practical details."

—James C. Wyant, College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, USA

"Even with modern 'easy-to-use' lens design software and global optimization, the understanding of aberration theory is essential to finding high-performing cost-effective design solutions. This book not only teaches the students the basics of aberration theory but adds in the needed understanding of higher order aberrations for modern optical systems. The chapter on wavefront aberrations and Zernike polynomials has been greatly improved and follows a notation becoming a standard in the industry."

—Dr. Julie L. Bentley,University of Rochester, New York, USA

"This is a new edition of a book that has been used in the course of lens design by the authors for many years. So it covers many aspects of optics taking in the progress in the individual field. Also the authors are trying to make the students of the course changing the order of materials as well as adding new ones."

—Kyoji Nariai,National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Mitaka, Tokyo

Praise for Previous Editions

"Many helpful references are given at the end of each chapter and the appendices, and these have been expanded from the first edition. … Overall, the changes made in this edition have enhanced the book's value as an important reference for the optics community."

Optics and Photonics News, Feb. 2006

"… the book makes liberal use of figures and diagrams, and covers both the basic principles of geometrical optics as well as their application to lens design. … this book is recommended for academic libraries with active programs in optical engineering, and certainly for libraries owning well-used copies of the first edition."

E-Streams, Vol. 7, No. 5, May 2004

"I found the book to be well presented and easy to read. … For those interested in optical systems, this is a useful book to have on hand."

The Physicist, Vol. 41, No. 2, March/April 2004

"Not only the basic theory is treated in this book, but many practical details for the design of important optical systems are given. … [A] book which is important and helpful and should not be missed in any optical laboratory."

Optik-International Journal for Light and Electron Optics, Vol. 115, No. 10, 2004

Table of Contents

Geometrical Optics Principles

Wave Nature of Light and Fermat’s Principle

Reflection and Refraction Laws

Basic Meridional Ray Tracing Equations

Gaussian or First-Order Optics

Image Formation

Stop, Pupils, and Principal Ray

Delano’s Relation

Optical Sine Theorem

Lagrange Invariant

Herschel Invariant and Image Magnifications

Thin Lenses and Spherical Mirrors

Thin Lenses

Formulas for Image Formation with Thin Lenses

Nodal Points of A Thin Lens

Image Formation with Converging Lenses

Image Formation with Diverging Lenses

Systems of Several Lenses and Thick Lenses

Focal Length and Power of A Lens System

Image Formation with Thick Lenses or Systems of Lenses

Cardinal Points

Image Formation with A Tilted or Curved Object

Thick Lenses

Systems of Thin Lenses

The Lagrange Invariant in A System of Thin Lenses

Effect of Object or Stop Shifting

The Delano y − ȳ Diagram

Chromatic Aberrations


Axial Chromatic Aberration

Conrady’s D – d Method of Achromatization

Secondary Color Aberration

Magnification Chromatic Aberration

Spherical Aberration

Spherical Aberration Calculation

Primary Spherical Aberration

Aspherical Surfaces

Spherical Aberration of Aspherical Surfaces

Surfaces without Spherical Aberration

Aberration Polynomial for Spherical Aberration

High-Order Spherical Aberration

Spherical Aberration Correction with Gradient Index

Monochromatic Off-Axis Aberrations


Petzval Curvature



Aplanatic Surfaces


Off-Axis Aberrations in Aspherical Surfaces

The Symmetrical Principle and the Bow–Sutton Conditions

Stop Shift Equations

Aberrations of the Pupil

Aberration Polynomials and High-Order Aberrations

Wavefronts in an Optical System

Ray Aberrations and Wavefront Aberrations

Wavefront Aberration Polynomial

Zernike Polynomials

Fitting of Wavefront Deformations to A Polynomial

Wavefront Representation by an Array of Gaussians

Wavefront Aberrations in Refractive Surfaces

Wavefront Aberrations in Reflective Surfaces

Aldis Theorem

Computer Evaluation of Optical Systems

Transverse Aberration Polynomials

Transverse Aberrations with H.H. Hopkins, Seidel, and Buchdahl Coefficients

Meridional Ray Tracing and Stop Position Analysis

Spot Diagram

Wavefront Deformation

Point and Line Spread Function

Optical Transfer Function

Tolerance to Aberrations

Diffraction in Optical Systems

Huygens–Fresnel Theory

Fresnel Diffraction

Fraunhofer Diffraction

Diffraction Images with Aberrations

Strehl Ratio

Optical Transfer Function

Resolution Criteria

Gaussian Beams


Tunnel Diagram

Deflecting A Light Beam

Transforming an Image

Deflecting and Transforming Prisms

Nondeflecting Transforming Prisms

Beam-Splitting Prisms

Chromatic Dispersing Prisms

Nonimaging Prisms

Basic Optical Systems and Simple Photographic Lenses

Optical Systems Diversity

Magnifiers and Single Imaging Lens

Landscape Lenses

Periscopic Lens

Achromatic Landscape Lens


Laser Light Collimators

Spherical and Paraboloidal Mirrors

Some Catoptric and Catadioptric Systems

F-Theta Lenses

Fresnel Lenses and Gabor Plates

Complex Photographic Lenses


Asymmetrical Systems

Symmetrical Anastigmat Systems

Varifocal and Zoom Lenses

The Human Eye and Ophthalmic Lenses

The Human Eye

Ophthalmic Lenses

Ophthalmic Lens Design

Prismatic Lenses

Spherocylindrical Lenses

Astronomical Telescopes

Resolution and Light-Gathering Power

Reflecting Two-Mirror Cameras and Telescopes

Catadioptric Cameras

Astronomical Telescopes

Field Correctors

Multiple-Mirror Telescopes

Active and Adaptive Optics

Visual Systems and Afocal Systems

Visual Optical Systems

Basic Telescopic System

Afocal Systems

Visual And Terrestrial Telescopes

Telescope Eyepieces

Relays and Periscopes


Compound Microscope

Microscope Objectives

Microscope Eyepieces

Microscope Illuminators

Projection Systems

Image Projectors

Main Projector Components

Coherence Effects in Projectors

Anamorphic Projection

Slide and Movie Projectors

Overhead Projectors

Profile Projectors

Television Projectors

LCD Computer and Home Theater Projectors

Lens Design Optimization

Basic Principles

Optimization Methods

Glatzel Adaptive Method

Constrained Damped Least-Squares Optimization Method

Merit Function and Boundary Conditions

Modern Trends in Optical Design

Flowchart for a Lens Optimization Program

Practical Tips for the Use of Lens Evaluation Programs

Some Commercial Lens Design Programs


Appendix: Notation and Primary Aberration Coefficients Summary

Appendix: Mathematical Representation of Optical Surfaces

Appendix: Optical Materials

Appendix: Exact Ray Tracing of Skew Rays

Appendix: General Bibliography on Lens Design


Chapters include references.

About the Authors

Daniel Malacara-Hernández is a professor and researcher at Centro de Investigaciones en Optica in Leon, Mexico.

Zacarías Malacara-Hernández is a researcher at Centro de Investigaciones en Optica in Leon, Mexico.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Optics
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Mobile & Wireless Communications