Researchers at UC Santa Cruz receive training to model optical components and systems

CodeV students
CodeV students
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Juliana Hernandez and Chris Zaw

There’s a unique collaboration taking place between the Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology Department and the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at UC Santa Cruz. Optical system researchers in the Baskin School of Engineering’s ECE department are building custom-designed microscopes to fit the specific needs of the biology researchers.

In order to simulate these optical systems, the engineers rely on advanced software such as CODE V, an optical design software from Synopsys. In November, 14 ECE students received training in this state-of-the-art software. The student researchers, most of whom were graduate students studying optical imaging and biophotonics, were interested in the course material because of its direct relevance to their research.

Prateek Jain, Optical Engineer and Technical Consultant for CODE V, led the four-day short course, which covered the basics of modeling, analyzing, and optimizing image-forming optical systems and also included hands-on workshops.

The course began with a design study on the digital camera. During this session, students received an introduction to the integrated development environment and became familiar with the user interface. Following this, the group explored the topic of optimization. Code V’s cutting-edge optimization software allows users to iterate through cycles of revisions based on given parameters and desired outcomes. Students also learned how to set desired specifications and let CODE V do the optimization of the lens parameters.

Each lecture included hands-on workshops to ensure the students had the opportunity to implement the concepts in practical applications.        

Later in the week, the group discussed additional topics directly related to the students’ research. These topics included how to create reflective surfaces (mirrors), and how to simulate tilted and decentered optical components and non-spherical surfaces. Dr. Jain helped the graduate students model a microscope with relay lenses in Code V, which would allow some of the students to model their research on the design software.

Overall, the students found the training to be extremely helpful and relevant to their research. The ECE department organized the free training and provided funds to help students network with each other and with the Synopsys engineer over pizza.