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OPTICAL SYSTEM DESIGNcontinued
Laser Focus World
rework, and eliminates the inconvenience
and expense of parts returns and scrap-
ping. The software provides an intelligent
link to the optical layer, allowing bidirectional transfer of information to spe-
cialized optical modeling tools. Designers
can take advantage of the capabilities of
these tools knowing that no information
has fallen through the cracks.
This approach also enables design-
ers to reuse and recycle existing designs.
Because components are anchored to the
local optical axis, altering the baseline
design to generate a derivative system is
much faster than starting from scratch.
The revised model still incorporates the
intelligent optical path definitions used
for bidirectional interfacing to special-
ized modeling tools.
Professor John Nolan, then at La Jolla
Bioengineering Institute (La Jolla, CA),
wanted to reduce the risk of physical
interference conflicts between optical
components in a prototype instrument.
Beam Wise modeled the system to detect
problems and provide recommendations
for next steps, enabling the designers to
scope and prioritize refinements to improve performance, robustness, and cost
of the system.
Next, the instrument’s schematics and
parts were incorporated into the software,
which generated a beam-anchored CAD
model of the mechanical components. The
output further guided the design of a man-
ufacturable version of the instrument. In
addition to the improvements to the design, the engineers concluded that using
Beam Wise would make future design revisions more efficient.
Designing a custom flow cytometer for
the National Cancer Institute involved
creating an optical system design from
scratch. Using BeamWise, designers at
Kinetic River started by rapidly devel-
oping a layout of the functional optical
components. They created a virtual op-
tical bench (see Fig. 3) to visualize the ar-
chitecture and identify potential issues
early in the process, quickly iterating lay-
out choices for functional and ergonomic
considerations. The model was then ex-
ported as 3D file to a CAD environment
to implement additional supports, verify
the overall structure, and provide blue-
prints for assembly.
The software enabled the design process
to proceed rapidly and efficiently through
the early “what-if” stages. The resulting
design remained stable through the rest
of the project, with only few and minor
tweaks introduced in the later stages of
design and manufacture.
Giacomo Vacca is chief science officer,
Sean Murphy is vice president of business
development, Tapio Karras is vice president of R&D, and Hannu Lehtimäki is president, all at Beam Wise, San Jose, CA; e-mail: