Geometrical Optics and Image Quality

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  • Course Content

Geometrical Optics and Image Quality

Course Description

In this course, learn a modern treatment of geometrical and image-forming optics, including cardinal points, marginal and chief rays, stops and pupils, F/# and field of view, paraxial raytracing, real raytracing, paraxial radiometry for flux transfer calculations, Seidel aberration contributions, and interpretation of aberrations. You will discover their impact on image quality, estimation of image quality in terms of spot size, and description of image quality in terms of modulation transfer function (MTF).

Course Content


  • Basic concepts and nomenclature
  • Single thin lens – image formation
  • Principal points and focal points
  • F/# and field of view
  • Image quality introduction
  • Basic system forms
  • Paraxial raytracing
  • Stops, pupils and vignetting
  • Lagrange invariant
  • Raytracing with mirrors


  • Radiometric units (irradiance, intensity, exitance, radiance)
  • Calculation examples using radiance
  • Flux transfer in image forming systems
  • Conservation of radiance as related to Lagrange invariant
  • Radiometry of unresolved (point) sources


  • Finite raytracing
  • Spot diagrams & ray-fan plots
  • Relation of wavefront error to ray-intercept error
  • Aberration polynomial
  • Defocus
  • Spherical aberration
  • Coma
  • Astigmatism and field curvature
  • Chromatic aberrations


  • Impulse response
  • Spatial frequency
  • Transfer function – modulation and phase
  • Diffraction MTF
  • Geometrical MTF
  • Detector footprint MTF
  • Sampling and aliasing
  • Sampling MTF


  • Impulsive targets: PSF, LSF, and ESF
  • Noise targets
  • Bar targets
  • Cascade property of MTF
  • Quality requirements on auxiliary optics
  • Correction for finite source size and finite receiver pixel size

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for engineers, scientists, technicians, and managers who are developing, specifying, or purchasing optical, electro-optical, and infrared systems.

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What You Will Learn

  • Paraxial properties calculation of an optical system: cardinal points, image-plane location, magnification, Lagrange invariant, F/# and field of view
  • Terminology and units for paraxial incoherent radiometry
  • Image-plane irradiance for given source configuration
  • The origin and nature of third-order monochromatic aberrations and first-order chromatic aberrations, emphasizing their impact on image quality and their dependencies on aperture and field
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How You Will Benefit

  • Understand the fundamental terminology and concepts involved with image-forming optical systems.
  • Estimate image quality in terms of spot size for simple systems, including effects of diffraction and aberrations.
  • Explore the concept of modulation transfer function (MTF) as a descriptor of image quality for both optical systems and electro-optical systems.
  • Taught by Experts in the Field icon
    Taught by Experts in the Field
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The course schedule was well-structured with a mix of lectures, class discussions, and hands-on exercises led by knowledgeable and engaging instructors.

- Abe Kani


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