2019 Mahajan Optics Education Invited Lecture

Roadmap for teaching optical imaging and aberrations

2019 Practical Optics Workshop (POW) Invited Lecture Series

Location: Room 307, Wyant College of Optical Sciences, Meinel Bldg.
Date and Time: 2:00–3:00 PM (+Q&A session follows), Sept. 6th, 2019

Speaker: Prof. Virendra Mahajan

Mahajan Dr. Virendra Mahajan is a graduate of the College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, where he is an adjunct professor. He is also an adjunct professor at the College of Optics and Photonics, National Central University in Taiwan. He has 40 years of experience working on space-based surveillance systems, the last 31 with The Aerospace Corporation, wherefrom he retired as a distinguished scientist.

Dr. Mahajan is a Fellow of SPIE, OSA, and the Optical Society of India, and recipient of SPIE’s 2006 Conrady award, and 2015 Educator award. He is the author of five books on optical imaging and aberrations, all published by SPIE Press. He is also an Associate Editor of OSA’s Handbook of Optics, 3rd ed.


The purpose of this talk is to give an outline of my approach on how to teach optical imaging and aberrations based on my teaching experience. Teaching of optical imaging starts with Gaussian imaging, which determines the location and size of the image in terms of the location and size of the object. Diffraction of the light leaving its exit pupil determines the actual image. Quality of the image is determined by the aberrations of the system. Hence, their knowledge and understanding about how they degrade the image by way of the aberrated PSF and OTF of the system must be an integral part of an optical imaging course. We discuss the teaching flow, including the calculation of aberrations, how to make interesting numerical problems for homework that are interesting and relevant, and when to use commercial software.

Lecture Video Link