Optical Systems Engineering

Course Description

Optical systems engineering emphasizes first-order, system-level estimates of optical performance. Building on the basic principles of optical design, study numerous practical examples to illustrate the systems-engineering processes of requirements analysis, feasibility and trade studies, subsystem interfaces, error budgets, requirements flowdown and allocation, component specifications and vendor selection.

Available Classroom Sections

Start Date End Date Registration Deadline Format Location Cost CRN
Section Details Sep 25, 2018 Sep 27, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 23:59 Classroom Lake Buena Vista, Florida $1,695 18288
Section Details Oct 2, 2018 Oct 4, 2018 Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - 23:59 Classroom Atlanta, Georgia $1,695 18276
View previous sections
View Previous Sections
CRN Start date End date Format Location Cost
14204 Oct 21, 2014 Oct 23, 2014 Classroom Atlanta, Georgia $1,695
15230 Oct 13, 2015 Oct 15, 2015 Classroom Atlanta, Georgia $1,695
16095 Oct 4, 2016 Oct 6, 2016 Classroom Atlanta, Georgia $1,695
17034 Oct 3, 2017 Oct 5, 2017 Classroom Atlanta, Georgia $1,695

Special Discounts

GTRI employees are eligible for a discount on this course.  If you are a GTRI employee, please go to https://webwise.gtri.gatech.edu/talent-management/organizational-development and look under “GT Professional Development” for a coupon code to use when checking out.

Note: Coupon codes must be applied during checkout and cannot be redeemed after your checkout is complete. Only one coupon code can be used per shopping cart.

Who Should Attend

Engineers, scientists, technicians and managers who are developing, specifying or purchasing optical, electro-optical or infrared systems

How You Will Benefit

  • Understand the concepts and terminology of systems engineering as applied to optical system development.

  • Calculate geometrical-optics parameters such as image size, image location, FOV, IFOV and ground-sample distance (GSD).

  • Distinguish the various types of optical aberrations.

  • Estimate blur size and blur-to-pixel ratio and their effects on MTF, GRD and image quality.

  • Quantify radiometric performance using the concepts of optical transmission, F/#, etendue, scattering and stray light.

  • Compare source types and properties.

  • Estimate radiometric performance.

  • Develop source-selection trades and specifications such as output power, irradiance, radiance, uniformity, stability and SWaP.

  • Compare FPA and detector types and properties. 

  • Predict SNR performance combining optical, source and detector parameters.

  • Develop detector-selection trades and specifications such as sensitivity, dynamic range, uniformity, operability and SWaP.

  • Develop optical and optomechanical component specifications. 

  • Estimate thermal, structural and dynamic effects on the performance of an optical system.

  • Utilize the results of STOP analysis.

  • Develop wavefront and LOS error budgets.


  • Systems engineering: Introduction, terminology and systems engineering concepts

  • Geometrical optics: Overview of key Optical concepts, ray tracing, lens prescriptions, image size, image location, FOV, IFOV and GSD

  • Aberrations and image quality: Common aberrations and their effect on image quality, diffraction-limited optics, MTF, WFE and other metrics of image quality

  • Radiometry: Optical transmission, irradiance, radiance, intensity, etendue, conservation laws, stray light control

  • Optical sources: Common source types, systems design with sources, source specifications, source selection and system trades

  • Detectors and FPAs: Common detector types, systems design with FPAs, signals, noise, sensitivity, detector and FPA specifications, detector, and FPA selection and system trades

  • Optomechanical design: Optical component fabrication, element sensitivities and alignment, thermal effects, structural vibrations, STOP analysis, wavefront and LOS error budgets

For Course-Related Questions

Please contact the course administrator: James Teague, Ph.D.