Lens design software, as the name suggests, only considers the performance of the lens prescription, usually by sequential raytracing, this gives no information about the full optical system (such as stray light levels, ghost images etc). With optical engineering software, the analyst merges the optical elements with the mechanical components to build a complete, integrated model. which serves as a basis for performing “real world” analyses of the performance of opto-mechanical system.

FRED is routinely used to analyze and quantify the following:

  • Formation of ghost images in molded plastic lenses
  • Formation of lens-damaging ghost images in laser systems
  • Stray light levels in sensors
  • Interference effects in coherent systems
  • Irradiance and intensity uniformity in illumination systems
  • Appearance of images at different wavelengths and under various types of illumination
  • Signal levels, throughput losses
  • Unexpected “glint” (specular) paths (sometimes called "sneak paths") that create image artifacts
  • Contrast levels in projector systems
  • Effectiveness of baffle, light shields, surface treatments, etc to improve contrast
  • Thermal self-emission levels in MWIR, LWIR systems

LogoFRED is comprehensive, full-featured optical engineering software in daily use by our own consulting group, national laboratories, universities, major aerospace and defense contractors, product development companies, and consultants worldwide (see our testimonials page). Compare FRED's features with those of any other software on the market and you’ll see that FRED is cost-effective and capable!

From the beginning, we planned to market one, comprehensive, all-inclusive edition of FRED; with no add-ons or extras to purchase! Recently, however, several of our larger customers requested an edition that traces rays on multiple processors using a multi-threaded approach and uses a network license. This ongoing development is expensive, so instead of increasing the price of FRED for everyone, we decided to create a FRED Optimum edition specifically with multi-processor support and networking capability for those customers and potential customers who need this type of horsepower. Our FRED Standard edition incorporates the multi-threaded ray trace for up to four CPU cores.

FRED Optimum

Our business philosophy is not to "nickel and dime" our customers with necessary add-ons and extra features that drive the purchase price upwards. We believe that it is misleading to attract potential customers with a low initial price and then make them pay extra for the features they need to get their job done. But we also understand that some customers may need certain high power features and that not all customer's needs are the same, therefore we have created two editions of FRED.

Maksutov TelescopeIt might be faster in some instances to work in a 2D spreadsheet environment, but you are sacrificing detail required to fully manufacture the assembly and you are losing the 3D visual understanding of how parts are placed in regard to each other spatially. Using a spreadsheet interface is usually a clunky affair that has problems providing the full visual 3D global picture. Instead, what you usually see are "snapshots" of 2D sections that prevent you from easily finding problem areas in 3D space that need to be addressed before creating the finished product.

In addition, spreadsheet based products are known for exporting poor CAD models that are great for fast raytracing speeds and effective for reducing optimization time, but real surface data is needed to convert these surfaces to the NURB information that CAD systems need. The amount of time for an engineer to convert models from spreadsheet surface based systems into a complete manufacturable CAD model may take more time than the entire time it takes to do the optical design!

Unlike some optical engineering products where model size limits are imposed on the user, a FRED user is only limited by the memory of the computer that he is using.

FRED is under constant development and twice a year we release "major" FRED updates.

Yes! Photon Engineering has completed and released several new features that have been requested and funded by customers.

Well, the truth is that the name FRED is just a name; it is not an acronym or abbreviation! FRED was the original development name of the software in the early 1990s. When it came time to release the first commercial version of FRED in April 2001, we couldn't agree on a better name and so the FRED software development project became the FRED Optical Engineering Software.