Lens design

LensForge icon

LensForge™ is the premier lens design program for Mac OS X. It is both powerful and inexpensive. A free demo is available.

Rayica icon

From Optica Software, "Rayica is the new premier optical design package for Mathematica and performs polarization ray-tracing, non-sequential ray-tracing, energy calculations, and optimization of optical systems in three-dimensional space." Rayica and other tools from Optica Software will work with Mac OS X if you have the appropriate version of Mathematica.

Optical system simulation

CyberRay icon

CyberRay is a particle beam simulator operating in the regime of geometric optics. A CyberRay beam consists of either charged particles or photons. The state of a beam at various times is determined by calculating the path of every particle in the beam through some set of objects in three-dimensional space. The simulation is fully 3D, and is capable of determining any spatial, temporal, or spectral properties of the beam.

Optics calculations

ABCD icon

ABCD Gaussian Beam Propagation Software allows you to propagate laser beams through standard optical elements (free space, dielectric, thin lens, curved mirror, gaussian duct and dielectric interface). It can be used as a research tool for people working in optics labs and might be useful as a teaching aid for an undergraduate-level entry course in modern optics.

OpticsCalc™ is a a handy optical calculator program for everyone from students to engineers who know optical theory, but need a quick and efficient way to perform the calculations. There are versions for Mac OS X, iPhone, and iPod touch.

Spot is a Cocoa application that draws the spot diagrams for newtonian telescope mirrors using random points. It can be of use as a demonstration of simple geometrical optics in the classroom or as a tool for understanding the concept of focus in the newtonian. Spot was written by Paul Peters.

Telescope testing

MacRonchi 2.0 is a free Mac OS X application that is useful for Amateur Telescope Makers that are in the process of making a telescope mirror. It shows what the reflection of a Ronchi grating should look like at certain distances from the radius of curvature. MacRonchi was written by Gert Jan Verhoog.

Texereau is Foucault test freeware. Ripplon Software recently got it to compile and run as a console program on Mac OS X and you are welcome to download the XCode project. We plan to make a proper Cocoa application of it, so please let us know if you are going to do it first!

Thin films


TFCompanion is a "powerful and user friendly software application" for thin film analysis and metrology.