LL Technology Office: Freeform Optics: Applications, Opportunities, and Challenges

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 11:00am to 12:00pm

Virtual Event

Freeform optics enable an almost unlimited tailoring of optical designs with increased design degrees of ffreedom. Design ray paths can be optimized to maximize field of view and F-number, while minimizing the overall system volume and resultant optical aberrations. Freeform optics have been adopted for numerous commercial applications such as smartphone cameras lenses, deep UV lithography, satellite free space optical communication, and automotive headlight designs. Optical designs for such applications are pushed to their limits in terms of their realizable performance. Freeform optics do introduce challenges associated with manufacturability, metrology, ease of alignment, and assembly. This talk highlights the many nuances of designing and implementing freeform designs, as well as their opportunities and challenges.


David is a co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of MBRYONICS Ltd, a world leader in satellite free space optical communication systems and photonic integrated circuits. He also chairs the Space Photonic Integrated Circuit World Roadmapping Forum.

David’s background was as an Aerospace Engineer and he has a PhD in physics. His PhD thesis, supervised by Prof. Chris Dainty, focused on novel photonic adaptive optics systems for free space optical communication through the atmosphere. Much of his later career has been built upon combining broad optical systems knowledge with his passion for manufacturability and engineering. Upon completing his thesis, he co-founded MBRYONICS with his two siblings in 2014 to commercialize free space optical communication systems. MBRYONICS has primarily focused on developing fiber-coupled, freeform optical antennas to maximize data throughput at the lowest mass and power for space applications. Bringing these systems to fruition has taken a vertically integrated and multidisciplinary approach encompassing materials science, advanced ultra-precision manufacturing techniques, mechanics, optics, integrated photonics,  software and custom electronics.

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Events By Interest


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Students, Alumni, Faculty

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School of Engineering (SoE)


ai, optics, photonics, freeform optics, free-space optical communication



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