Efficient freeform lens optimization for computational caustic displays

Gerwin Damberg, Wolfgang Heidrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Phase-only light modulation shows great promise for many imaging applications, including future projection displays. While images can be formed efficiently by avoiding per-pixel attenuation of light most projection efforts utilizing phase-only modulators are based on holographic principles which rely on interference of coherent laser light and a Fourier lens. Limitations of this type of an approach include scaling to higher power as well as visible artifacts such as speckle and image noise. We propose an alternative approach: operating the spatial phase modulator with broadband illumination by treating it as a programmable freeform lens. We describe a simple optimization approach for generating phase modulation patterns or freeform lenses that, when illuminated by a collimated, broadband light source, will project a pre-defined caustic image on a designated image plane. The optimization procedure is based on a simple geometric optics image formation model and can be implemented computationally efficient. We perform simulations and show early experimental results that suggest that the implementation on a phase-only modulator can create structured light fields suitable, for example, for efficient illumination of a spatial light modulator (SLM) within a traditional projector. In an alternative application, the algorithm provides a fast way to compute geometries for static, freeform lens manufacturing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10224-10232
Number of pages9
JournalOptics Express
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Optical Society of America.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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