A little while back, I gave a talk at an optical lens design conference in Tokyo. I had a blast, and I’d like to share my experience here.
(The Optical Society of Japan)
There is an organization in Japan called the Optical Design Group (ODG), a government institute that promotes optical lens design. ODG was founded as a study group of the Optical Society of Japan (OSJ) in 1993, and was concerned about that fact that there is little intercommunication between researchers’ communities to share their knowledge: a critical problem that can sharply hamper further technological development in the discipline. ODG is compliant with a wide range of optical design techniques and optical elements such as lens design, optical design, optical product fabrication, measurement and evaluation, optical design software, etc.
I’ve been getting offers to talk about lens design for the past few years. Once I did one, the floodgates opened and I’ve been asked to talk about a variety of subjects in lens design and optics. This time, I talked about how different lenses have different applications, and knowing the application of the system is the very first step to good lens design.
I talked about:
- Designing Fresnel lenses
- Time of Flight (TOF) illumination and imaging systems
- IR imaging
- Computer Generated Holograms (CGH)
It’s always fun to get instant feedback on lens design and optics, and in this talk, there was more of a teaching aspect, which was equally fun and challenging.
There were many attendees from big companies in the photography world like Canon, Nikon, Ricoh, just to name a few. But also more research oriented members from universities like Utsunomiya University Center for Optical Research & Education (CORE) and research labs like RIKEN were also there.
(University of California Santa Barbara)
The plenary lecture was by Shuji Nakamura, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014 for his breakthrough work on the Blue LED. Although he is known for his work with the blue LED, he is currently part of a company called Soraa, that works on a new breed of white light LEDs, closer to the wavelength of the sun.
The concept is that the Soraa LEDs have a violet band, and the lowering of the blue light is important, because blue light to suppresses the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Not only sleep deprivation, but low melatonin has been linked to conditions like cancers, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Also, there is research that violet light exposure may be a preventive strategy for myopia, or nearsightedness (here and here). That may explain a lot of folks that are nearsighted today, who don’t go outside much in childhood.
What does this have to do with lens design? Well, it’s important to look for trends in the optics industry to be better prepared for shifts in the industry. For this example, if violet light LEDs become mainstream, lens design needs to incorporate the violet wavelengths of about 380–450nm. The transmittance of materials and index of refraction changes with wavelength, so these are some things to keep in mind.
-Banquet after party:
One of the best parts of the conference was the after party. I got to talk to Professor Nakamura, albeit for 30 seconds, but just listening in on his conversation with others is beneficial. There was a professor (Shibuya) that used to work at Nikon for 24 years, and I got to pick his brain about some of the iconic Nikkor lenses he designed.
Great lens design conferences?
All in all, this conference was an amazing experience. I was able to share some recent work that I have been doing, listened to talks about top of the line lens design, and just learned a lot about lens design by talking to the top people that are in my field.
Have you attended any conferences in lens design that were great? I’d love to hear some and your experiences. (Hey, it doesn’t even have to be about lens design or optics 🙂 )
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