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Zemax Opticstudio v21.3

Zemax Opticstudio v21.3

1 Tools, Features, and Capabilities

1.1 New Off-axis Mirror object (Professional and Premium Editions)

The Off-axis Mirror is added to Non-Sequential Mode.

The Off-axis Mirror object makes it simpler to model off-axis conic aspheric mirrors. This object has a front face equivalent to the Off-Axis Conic Freeform sequential surface without the polynomial terms, and a conic rear surface with the same offset as the front surface.


1.2 Project Directories (All Editions)

Collect your important files in a single location.

The new Project Directory capability allows important files used by your OpticStudio design to be stored in a single location and to keep those files updated as you save your work. This makes it easier to organize all of the information relating to your model and to share it with other OpticStudio users.

A Project Directory can be created from an existing OpticStudio design by using the Convert to Project Directory button in the File tab.


1.3 New default file format (All Editions)

.ZOS is now the default file format.

Files are now saved by default in a non-human readable binary file format with a .ZOS file extension. This provides better file security when stored on disk, for archiving purposes, and when sharing files.

Design files can still be saved to the ZMX file format in OpticStudio 21.3, though you will get a warning message when doing so as ZMX is no longer the recommended file format. We will always support backward compatibility, so in OpticStudio 21.3 – and in all future versions of OpticStudio – you will still be able to read in a ZMX file. ZMX files will be converted by default to the ZOS format when subsequently saved.


1.4 User Defined Transformations in STAR Module (Professional and Premium Editions, Subscription only. Requires a STAR Module License)

Load FEA data in any coordinate system and transform it in the STAR Module.

FEA datasets can be loaded into the STAR Module in any arbitrary coordinate system and then translated and rotated in the Load FEA Data tool. This allows the STAR Module to handle FEA data that has been exported in a coordinate system that is different to the Local or Global coordinates in OpticStudio.


1.5 New System Viewer draw modes in STAR Module (Professional and Premium Editions, Subscription only. Requires a STAR Module License)

Deformation Vectors can now be viewed.

Within the System Viewer tool, there are two new draw modes: Deformation Map & Vectors and Deformation Vectors. These display the magnitude and direction of deformations over the optical system.


1.6 Convert STOP to Hard Aperture in Prepare For OpticsBuilder (All Editions)

A new checkbox to control the Stop surface object type during conversion.

In the Prepare For OpticsBuilder tool, there is a new checkbox: Convert STOP to Hard Aperture?. If this checkbox is selected the Stop surface, as selected in the Lens Data Editor, will be converted into an Annulus object. In previous versions of OpticStudio, the behavior was equivalent to selecting this checkbox.


1.7 Updated Zemax website and Customer portal

The new Zemax website has been launched.

The Zemax website has been updated and is now home to all support, training, and product content. It merges and all of MyZemax and OpticsAcademy into one centralized location with a global search functionality.

This includes updates to the Community forums, the Knowledgebase, and an improved ticketing system for support.

For more information, see the blog post Zemax Announces Updated Zemax Website and Customer Portal.


1.8 OpticStudio HPC Beta Program

High Performance Computing is coming to OpticStudio.

In OpticStudio 21.3 there is a new HPC tab which will only be active for users taking part in the HPC Beta program.

OpticStudio HPC allows distributed cloud computing to be used to accelerate long running computations such as Non-Sequential ray tracing and Monte Carlo tolerance analysis.

To enquire about taking part in the HPC Beta program, please contact


2 Programming

2.1 ZPL: TOLERANCE Keyword Updated

The TOLERANCE keyword can now save to ZTD files.

The ZPL keyword TOLERANCE is updated to support output in the ZTD file format by specifying the .ZTD extension at the end of the out_file_name argument. For example, the syntax could be: TOLERANCE example.TOP, output.ZTD


3 Libraries and Catalogs

3.1 Catalog Updates (All Editions)

Get the latest catalogs material catalog from NHG.

Material Catalogs

    The NHG catalog contains 23 new materials and updated performance data for some existing materials.


4 Performance and Stability Improvements

    Design Lockdown and Prepare for OpticsBuilder – These tools now ignore dummy surfaces when converting from Sequential to Non-Sequential Mode.  Previously dummy surfaces would be converted to an Annulus in Non-Sequential Mode, causing undesired ray clipping during a ray trace.

    STAR Module License – The STAR Module License is now automatically enabled when OpticStudio runs. There is no longer a need to manually enable it in the Zemax License Manager.

    INT Grid to OpticStudio conversions – More robust handling of non-square grids during conversions.


5 Bug Fixes

    Volume holograms – Diffraction efficiency calculation updated for volume holograms with Order 0 to match Kogelnik’s polarization model.

    Tolerance Operands – When using the Tilt/Decenter Elements tool to add Coordinate Breaks, tolerance operands correctly reflect updated surface numbers. Previously if a coordinate break was inserted before your surface, it’s surface number would change but the operand wouldn’t update.

    Tilt/Decenter Elements – Corrected behavior when a surface contains a ZPL Macro solve in one of the cells. Previously this would become a fixed value and the solve would be turned off.

    Tilt/Decenter Elements – Surfaces are correctly removed when Undo is used. Previously some inserted surfaces would not be removed.

    Convert to NSC Group – Correctly handles Biconic surfaces in mirror space during conversion. Previously, parameters could be incorrectly negated during conversion.


Product:Zemax Opticstudio v21.3
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