Optical Systems Engineering

  • Overview
  • Course Content

Optical Systems Engineering

Course Description

This course emphasizes first-order, system-level estimates of optical performance. Building on the basic principles of optical design, you will study numerous practical examples to illustrate the systems-engineering processes of requirements analysis, feasibility and trade studies, subsystem interfaces, error budgets, requirements flow-down and allocation, component specifications, and vendor selection. You will gain an understanding of the concepts and terminology of systems engineering as applied to optical system development.

Course Content


  • Optical systems
  • Optical engineering
  • Optical systems engineering


  • Imaging
  • Field of view
  • Relative aperture
  • Finite conjugates
  • Combinations of lenses
  • Ray tracing
  • Thick lenses
  • Stops, pupils, and windows
  • Afocal telescopes


  • Aberrations
  • Diffraction
  • Image quality


  • Optical transmission
  • Irradiance
  • Etendue, radiance, and intensity
  • Conservation laws
  • Stray light


  • Source types
  • Systems design
  • Source specifications
  • Source selection


  • Detector types
  • Focal plane arrays
  • Signals, noise, and sensitivity
  • Detector specifications
  • Detector selection


  • Fabrication
  • Alignment
  • Thermal design
  • Structural design
  • Component specifications

Session Details

  • Special Discounts: Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) employees are eligible to receive a discount.  If you are a GTRI employee, please go to the Organizational Development website and look for the coupon code under GT Professional Development. Review coupon instructions for more information.

Who Should Attend

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

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What You Will Learn

  • Geometrical-optics parameters
  • The various types of optical aberrations
  • Blur size and blur-to-pixel ratio estimates and their effects on modulation transfer function, ground resolved distance (GRD), and image quality
  • Radiometric performance
  • Source types and properties
  • Radiometric performance
  • Focal plane array and detector types comparisons and properties
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How You Will Benefit

  • Predict signal-to-noise ratio performance combining optical, source, and detector parameters.
  • Develop detector-selection trades and specifications.
  • Develop optical and optomechanical component specifications.
  • Estimate thermal, structural, and dynamic effects on the performance of an optical system.
  • Utilize the results of Structural-Thermal-Optical-Performance analysis.
  • Develop wavefront and Logistics Outfitting System error budgets.
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  • Taught by Experts in the Field icon
    Taught by Experts in the Field

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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  • Flexible Schedule
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