Optical Design Software: dbOptic - the Optical Design Database Application from

Optical Design for Personal Computers

Powerful, easy to use optical design software from Sky Scientific can help you develop designs from a single lens or mirror to complex systems with up to 99 surfaces. Engineering professionals, students and educators use this software to perform simple ray tracing or solve tough optical engineering, optical system design and imaging problems. dbOptic includes a fully integrated glass catalog and basic lens design library. An optional library of 2,500 additional lenses and systems from major optical manufacturers and suppliers is available at small additional cost.

Try out the FREE trial version of this optical design software and have it running in minutes. dbOptic: Optical Design Software for Windows®.


dbOptic is easy-to-use, high-performance optical design software with most of the features of high-end optics software, yet at a small fraction of the cost. In addition to being an excellent resource for optics professionals, this software was developed in consideration of the needs of educators and technical professionals with training in other disciplines.

Features of this optical design software package include . . .

• Capability to create and analyze systems with up to 99 surfaces including spherical and aspheric surfaces, flats and iris stops.
• A fully integrated glass catalog.
• A basic library of simple lenses and mirrors, photographic and telescope systems.
• Additional Library of Manufacturer's Stock Lens designs is optionally available.
• Sort and filter the database to find lenses to meet your requirements.
• Real time 2D lens and ray graphics plus ray spot diagrams & encircled energy plots.
• Complete design editing capability.
• Handles Tilted Surfaces.
• Import Zemax® (.zmx) Lens Files.
• Generate Polychromatic spot diagrams.
• Imaging of extended objects.
• Optimize with powerful optical design tools including Aberration XY Plots, H - Tan U and H' - L Plots.
• For single workstations or easy setup on your network for multiple users with a common shared database.
• Full Program Documentation, Optical Design Primer and Software Tutorial.

"If other optical design software you have tried leaves you with the impression that a graduate engineering degree is a prerequisite, you will appreciate the power and simplicity of dbOptic."

dbOptic is a comprehensive optical design software program utilizing Microsoft Jet (Access®) Database technology to store, edit, sort, filter and update optical designs and glass catalog data. It can accommodate up to 99 surfaces per design (Rx) and a variety of surface types including spherical, flat ,elliptical, parabolic, hyperbolic, stops (called "Iris" surface type) and surfaces defined by an eighth degree polynomial (Ax   + Bx   + Cx   + Dx  ). 

The maximum practical number of prescriptions that can be stored in the database is known only to be "very large", constrained by the programmatic limitations of  MS Access®. The maximum physical size of the application database is 1 Gigabyte and approximately 1 million records.

New prescriptions are entered surface-by-surface using a convenient datasheet format with each new surface displayed in the Graphics Window in real time. A fully featured optical design editing capability is included that enables editing individual surfaces, moving and "flipping" surfaces or elements and inserting new surfaces or complete designs from the database. New designs and lens libraries may also be imported into the database. The user may set defaults for new designs which include selection of English (in) or Metric (mm) units, object space medium and object distance and design wavelength in nanometers.





"dbOptic Optical Design Software can provide a quick solution to your immediate optical design and imaging problem."

The maximum practical number of prescriptions that can be stored in the database is known only to be "very large", constrained by the programmatic limitations of  MS Access®. The maximum physical size of the application database is 1 Gigabyte and approximately 1 million records.

Users can step through the designs individually in the Rx Grid, with each Rx displayed in the Graphics Window and sort, filter or search for specific designs. For the current prescription, the Trace Menu allows display of spot diagrams and encircled energy plots and ray traces for the computation of aberrations. Aberrations considered include longitudinal and zonal spherical aberration, coma and OSC, chromatic aberration, secondary color, distortion, lateral color and field curvature.  Printer output is available for most screens and views.  The trace window for a Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope with field flattener lens is shown below.  The oblique trace was performed for an object at infinity, 1.5 degrees off axis.

The current version of dbOptic offers polychromatic spot diagrams, imaging of extended objects and support for higher monitor screen resolution settings. Spot diagram for a double gauss photographic lens is shown below.

New prescriptions may be entered or existing ones edited using the convenient datasheet format shown below . . .

A fully-integrated glass catalog is included in the dbOptic optical design software package. . .

Spot Diagrams . . .  

. . . and Encircled Energy Plots  

Tracing through Tilted Surfaces  

The XY Plot Menu Command allows the plotting of aberration vs surface design parameters, object distance or wavelength. The red plot below shows how system spherical aberration LA' varies with radius of curvature of surface number 4, the primary mirror of a 1000 mm focal length telephoto mirror lens. The horizontal gray line represents LA' = 0 (fully corrected). The horizontal green lines represent the allowable tolerance values. The short red vertical bar represents the system as currently designed with R4 equal to about -419mm. The plot clearly shows that while LA' is within the allowed tolerance, it could be reduced further by flattening the surface slightly to about R = -423mm.

Imaging of Extended Objects
Similar to using a single point as the object for generating a spot diagram, we can also consider an array of object points at the same finite or non-finite object distance and create a composite spot diagram at the image plane. The composite image of this "object map" provides a near-realistic view of the image that a candidate optical system might generate. The images below show an original object file and resultant "expected" images from two different lenses after tracing 80 rays through each of the 10,201 object points making up the original object:

Original Object File

Image after tracing through 50mm f/2 Double Gauss Photographic Lens

Image after tracing through 50mm f/2 Plano Convex Lens

dbOptic is NOT an automatic lens design program; however, it comes with a complement of tools which will assist in the optimization of any design. The XY Plot Menu Command allows the plotting of aberration vs surface design parameters, object distance and wavelength.   From the plot screen it is possible to reset a parameter for the purpose of reducing the magnitude of an aberration. H'- L and H' - Tan U' plots are also available.

dbOptic, the Optical Design Database Program, contains many more features than can be covered here. Try our optical design software before you buy it. Download the FREE Evaluation Version and have it running in a few minutes. If the dbOptic software meets with your approval, order the License Activation Key that will transform your installed application into the full-feature licensed version of dbOptic. The free Evaluation Version includes complete program documentation and a software tutorial.

FREE dbOptic Optical Design Software Download

Open this page from your Windows® laptop or desktop computer to download the dbOptic software.

  1. Clicking the “Download” button below will take you to the Sky Scientific software files Download Page. Select and download this file from the Download Page:

  2. Open the file to install the dbOptic program. In the event the "Windows Protected Your PC" warning message is displayed, you may  proceed with the installation anyway if you click the "More Info" link that appears.

  3. Take your time to review program features and operation. If you are satisfied with the program, you may order the License Activation Key to convert your installed evaluation version into the fully-licensed version of dbOptic. Without the License Activation Key, the program will run for about 30 days, giving you sufficient time to evaluate it.

  4. If you encounter problems with the installation or operation of dbOptic, contact us.

Ordering the dbOptic License Activation Key

If you have downloaded and installed the evaluation version of dbOptic, you will have nearly 30 days to examine the program operation and determine if it meets your needs. If you are happy with program you can order the License Activation Key that will transform your installed evaluation version into the full-featured and licensed version of dbOptic.

When ordering, you will need to enter the Installation ID from your installed evaluation version of dbOptic so that we can send you the correct License Activation Key for your installation. The Installation ID is a 10-digit number followed by "-20" that appears on the program startup screen (or select "About dbOptic" from the Help Menu). Make a note of this number and enter it below before clicking the "Add to Cart" button. The Activation Key will be forwarded to you by email.

License Activation Key for dbOptic
ver 3.5 for Windows


Optional Lens Library "A" of 2,500 manufacturer's stock lenses, mirrors & systems

We will provide a library file that you can import or link to your installed full-feature licensed version of dbOptic.


There are NO shipping or handling charges as the above items will be forwarded to the email address you provide at checkout. If you have questions, contact us.


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