Optical sensors are used in a wide range of industrial, consumer, and scientific applications. These sensors convert light, or a change in light, into an electronic signal. Light can change in intensity, phase, polarization, wavelength, or spectral distribution—and OpticStudio automatically accounts for it all.

Whether you’re designing a system with reflective or transmissive sensors, or sensors with IR filters or custom coatings, OpticStudio makes it easy.


OpticStudio is two software packages in one: an optical design package and an illumination design package. The optical package allows fast and efficient design of imaging systems, including camera lenses and complex freeform systems. The illumination package accurately simulates light sources, including camera flashes and infrared lasers. Both packages are seamlessly integrated into one, intuitive user interface.

This means that OpticStudio can be used to design all optical components in active and passive sensor systems.  Active sensors include a light source to illuminate an area of interest, and measure the reflected signal, while passive sensors measure energy from other light sources, like the sun, or ambient lighting.

See one of the categories below for more information.  



OpticStudio can simulate ambient light sensors, which are found in many consumer items, such as lamps that turn on automatically in response to darkness, camera light meters, nightlights, outdoor clocks, solar street lamps, and more. Ambient light sensors are typically passive sensors, responding to diverse lighting conditions in order to reduce power consumption or provide optimal viewing.


OpticStudio has capabilities specifically for the design of optical color sensors, which are used in a wide variety of industries and applications, ranging from monitoring color consistency in textile production to monitoring algae blooms.  Color sensors may be active sensors, requiring LED sources (white, or red/blue/green) to illuminate the objects under test, or they may be passive sensors, recognizing the wavelengths of self-luminous objects.  


Optical proximity sensors are active sensors that detect the distance, absence, or presence of an object. High sensitivity proximity sensors are used in astronomy, spectroscopy, night vision equipment, and laser range finding. For example, there is a LIDAR camera on the Google car, which uses arrays of 32 or 64 lasers to measure distances and generate a 3D map. 


Movement and presence sensors are active sensors that detect when an object interrupts a light beam.  For example, smartwatches use these sensors to measure the wearer’s heartbeat.  With each cardiac cycle the heart pumps blood into the periphery, distending the arteries and arterioles in the subcutaneous tissue, causing a small change in volume. This change is detected by illuminating the skin with the light from an LED, and then measured. 


Image scanning sensors are active sensors used in devices that scan images, printed text, handwriting, or an object, and converts it to a digital image. This includes mark and code reading and optical character recognition (OCR).  


Image capture sensors can be active or passive, and are used in electronic imaging devices – both analog and digital – which include digital cameras, medical imaging equipment, and night vision equipment like thermal imaging devices, radar, and sonar.