SC06 – A practical Guide to Specifying Optical Components


Specifying optics, even commercial optics, can be a daunting task. The optics industry has evolved its own language, symbology, and standards for specifying and manufacturing optical components which can be obscure to even a veteran engineer, much less a newcomer to the industry. This course provides an overview of the basic principles, terms, and standards that are necessary for someone specifying optical elements. A primary goal of the course is to serve as a practical guide to optics specifications and drawings, and how they relate to optical system performance. Engineers and users of optics who need to buy optical components, but are unsure of all the detailed specifications, will benefit from taking this course.

Learning Outcomes

This course will enable you to:

  • Identify the key specifications associated with optics
  • Determine the impact of the specifications on system performance
  • Recognize when commercial optics may not be adequate for their requirements
  • Define the various optics specifications in standard optics formats
  • Read and comprehend standard optics drawings notations
  • Specify commercial optics for imaging and non-imaging applications


The course price includes handouts of the presentation material for all attendees.

Course Length

Half-day (3.5 hours)


Dave Aikens has been designing and specifying optics for defense, biomedical, laser, and illumination systems for more than 30 years. In 1994 he joined ASC OP, the American optics standards committee, and in 2004 he became the head of the US delegation to ISO TC172 SC1 for fundamental optics standards. He is currently serving as Executive Director of the Optics and Electro-Optics Standards Council, and has personally participated in the development and revision of more than 20 standards related to optics.

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