We are pleased to announce the winners of the Synopsys 2023 Robert S. Hilbert Memorial Optical Design Competition. Our annual competition celebrates exceptional research projects designed by college students in North America using Synopsys Optical Solutions software. The competition is open to students working toward a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree.
The Optical Solutions team thanks all the students who submitted their work to the competition. It was exciting to see Synopsys software used in such a wide range of optical applications and with an outstanding level of technical excellence.
This year’s winning designs were submitted by students from:
Yi Zeng is a Ph.D candidate in physics at the California Institute of Technology. Zeng received an award for the project titled, “Non-Resonant Cavity for Multi-Pass Laser Intensity Buildup.” Zeng used LightTools to design and validate a non-resonant cavity to build up the intensity of multiple lasers in a confined space for use in lab experiments to manipulate atoms and molecules.
“I’d like to thank Synopsys for the student license and software,” said Zeng. “It has been a great help for my study and research, and it inspired me to try new things.”
Douglas Liu is an undergraduate student in electrical engineering at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Liu received an award for the project titled, “1×4 MMI Splitter.” Liu used the RSoft Photonic Device tools to design a 1×4 multimode interferometer (MMI) by optimizing multiple 1×2 MMI splitters.
Danny Maas is an undergraduate student in electrical engineering at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Maas received an award for the project titled, “8 to 1 Multiplexer.” Maas used the RSoft Photonic Device Tools to design a ring-based multiplexer for use in fiber optic .
“Using RSoft for my final project helped me to better understand the theoretical concepts we learned in Photonic Engineering,” said Maas. “I would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Derickson for encouraging us to work outside of our comfort zones during the course of this class, and for illuminating a new interest in the field of photonics, which was previously unknown to me.”
Brandon Okazaki is an undergraduate student in electrical engineering at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Okazaki received an award for the project titled, “1×4 Interferometer Power Splitter.” Okazaki used the RSoft Photonic Device Tools to design a 1×4 multimode interferometer that splits an optical input power into four equal .
“I am very honored and blessed to have my 1×4 MMI design recognized,” said Okazaki. “Thank you to Professor Dennis Derickson for introducing me to RSoft Photonic Device Tools in his Photonics Engineering Class.”
Alfred Moore is an undergraduate student in optical engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Moore received an award for the project titled, “Folded Light Source: A Technique for Compact and Efficient Automotive Lighting.” Moore used LucidShape to design a low-beam headlamp with an LED and fold mirror to create a folded light source that meets performance and industry standards.
“I am grateful to have been chosen for this award,” said Moore. “I had a great time learning how to utilize Synopsys LucidShape to design automotive lighting systems. It is a powerful and easy-to-learn software that allowed me to easily visualize the light distribution pattern that I was creating. I also would like to thank my professor Dr. Alisafaee for encouraging innovative designs that will continue to make the lighting industry more energy efficient and accommodating for new classes of vehicles.”
Carloyn Hokin, Shriniketh Sreevatsan, Adam Wan, Yiran Xie, and Mina Yoo are undergraduate students in optical sciences at the University of Arizona. The team received an award for their project titled, “Compact Relay for Image Steering in Augmented Reality.” They used CODE V to develop multiple prototypes of an augmented reality (AR) diffractive image steering system that is compact, lightweight, and efficient.
The team provided the following comments:
“I am honored to have my team’s design recognized, and to have been selected to receive this award,” said Hokin. “Special thanks to Dr. Yuzuru Takashima for guidance throughout this project and to my teammates for all their hard work!”
“This award unequivocally validates my profound dedication to optical design,” said Sreevatsan. “I am both humbled and deeply honored to stand among this year’s recipients.”
“Winning this award is a testament to my fascination for optical design and the thrill of transforming theoretical knowledge into practical applications,” said Xie. “As an international student, I deeply appreciate the unwavering support from my advisor, Prof. Yuzuru Takashima, and my team members who stood by me through every challenge we encountered. This experience has been both encouraging and empowering.”
“I am honored that our team was selected as one of the winners in the competition,” said Yoo. “This achievement will inspire me for future endeavors in optical design. Using CODE V greatly facilitated the optical designing process and also improved my understanding of optical designing. Additionally, I want to express gratitude to our hardworking team members for their collaborative efforts and commitment. Lastly, I sincerely thank Professor Takashima Yuzuru for his invaluable support and guidance throughout the project.”
Andrew Klein is a Ph.D candidate in optics and photonics at the University of Central Florida (CREOL). Klein received an award for the project titled, “Wide-Field Fiber Coupled Objective Design.” Klein used CODE V to design a compact, robust fiber-coupled lens objective suitable for long-term use in imaging systems for low Earth orbit.
“It’s a great honor to be selected as a winner for this competition,” said Klein. “This design, which optimizes the interface of an objective lens and fiber bundle without enforcing image-space telecentricity, could not have been created without the capabilities of CODE V. I would especially like to thank my advisor Dr. Sean Pang, along with Dr. Zheyuan Zhu. Their expertise and guidance made this project possible.”
Anteneh Tsegaye is a Ph.D student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Tsegaye received an award for the project titled, “Utilization of Laser Cavity to Optimize Light-Assisted Drying (LAD) System.” Tsegaye used LightTools to design a laser cavity system using a single laser source to facilitate faster, more effective drying of biological samples. The goal of the LAD system in Tsegaye’s project is to support mass production of thermally stable vaccines that do not require refrigeration.
“I am grateful and honored to receive the prestigious Robert S. Hilbert Memorial Optical Design Award of 2022-2023,” said Tsegaye. “This achievement motivates me to continue pushing boundaries in the field. Light is more than just a source of illumination! Thank you, Synopsys, for recognizing my hard work, providing LightTools educational license and your kind technical support. Last but not least, I would like to thank both my advisor, Professor Susan R. Trammell, and my illumination optics instructor, Professor Thomas Suleski.”
Ankur Desai is a Ph.D candidate in optics at the University of Rochester. Desai received an award for the project titled, “Achromatization of Multi-Material Gradient-Index Singlets.” Desai used CODE V to perform a design study that highlights new methods of fabricating gradient-index (GRIN) optics that blend multiple materials to enhance color correction.
“Third time’s the charm!” said Desai. “Having submitted previously in 2018 and 2021, it feels great to finally be selected for an award. I’d like to thank Professors Duncan Moore and Greg Schmidt for continuing to be outstanding advisors, and Professor Julie Bentley for being an inspiring mentor.”
Yi-Teng (Sherry) Feng is a Ph.D candidate in optics at the University of Rochester. Feng received an award for the project titled, “Fluorescence Microscopy System Using 1.5 NA Immersion Microscope Objective.” Feng used CODE V for a design study of an immersion microscope objective tailored for coordinate and height super-resolution imaging with dithering and orientation (CHIDO). The system is useful for visualizing fluorescence of samples in bio-imaging systems.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected for this prestigious award,” said Feng. “This project provided me with a remarkable opportunity to integrate optical design using CODE V into my research. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Professor Julie Bentley and Professor Georg Nadorff for their invaluable guidance throughout this endeavor, and I am sincerely thankful to Synopsys for their unwavering support of optics students.”
Joanna Rosenbluth is an undergraduate student in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Rosenbluth received an award for the project titled, “Gradient Index Apochromatic Laser Collimating Singlet.” Rosenbluth used CODE V to design a gradient index singlet that minimizes both spherical aberration and axial color and is useful for laser collimation and broadband pulse systems.
“I am honored to receive this award from Synopsys,” said Rosenbluth. “I would like to thank Professor Greg Schmidt and Ph.D candidate Ankur Desai for their help and support throughout this project. I appreciate the flexibility of CODE V’s user-defined features as the manufacturing capabilities of gradient index materials continue to advance.”
Matthew Scibilia is an undergraduate student in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Scibilia received an award for the project titled, “Davy Jones’ Optic: An Underwater Camera Lens for Deep Ocean Squid Observation.” Scibilia used CODE V to design a camera for deep-water observation of marine life. The design features lens elements contained behind a hemispherical dome port that achieve excellent image quality and perform well in low-light, high-pressure conditions.
“I would like to thank Synopsys for recognizing my design with this award and for supporting optics students with their software and this competition,” said Scibilia. “I had a lot of fun working through the project and using CODE V to explore how the specifications of the challenging deep-water environment drove the lens design. I would additionally like to thank Dr. Julie Bentley for her continued guidance and encouragement throughout the development of the design.”
Xinyan Wang is an undergraduate student in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Wang received an award for the project titled, “Ultrashort Throw Projector Lens.” Wang used CODE V to design a projection lens system that achieves a throw ratio of approximately 0.33:1, supports a projection area of 100 inches or 120 inches, and provides full HD resolution.
“I am honored to receive the award,” said Wang. “This project fuels my passion for lens design and allows me to push the boundaries of innovation in optics with CODE V. I would like to thank Professor Julie Bentley for her encouragement and guidance throughout the semester.”
The annual Robert S. Hilbert Memorial Optical Design Competition recognizes excellence in student optical design projects. The competition was established in 2000 by Optical Research Associates (ORA®), now Synopsys Optical Solutions, and in 2009 was named in honor of ORA’s former president and chief executive officer, Robert S. Hilbert. To participate, students in North America can enter an optical design class assignment or thesis work that uses Synopsys optical design software. For more information, visit https://www.synopsys.com/optical-solutions/learn/competition.html.
For more information about university and other educational programs sponsored by Synopsys Optical Solutions, visit https://www.synopsys.com/optical-solutions/learn.html.