Design of Freeform Illumination Optics

Rengmao Wu, Zexin Feng, Zhenrong Zheng, Rongguang Liang, Pablo Benitez, Juan C. Minano, Fabian Duerr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


Freeform optics constitutes a new technology that is currently driving substantial changes in illumination design. It liberates designers and engineers from restrictions of optical surface geometry, enabling them to achieve compact, lightweight, and efficient illumination systems with excellent optical performance. Freeform optics is currently used widely for both fundamental research and practical applications. This Review focuses on the design of freeform illumination optics, which is a key factor in advancing the development of illumination engineering. The design methods of freeform illumination optics can be divided into two groups: zero-étendue algorithms based on ideal source assumption and design algorithms for extended light sources. The zero-étendue algorithms include ray mapping method, Monge–Ampère equation method, and supporting quadric method. The algorithms for extended sources include illumination optimization, feedback design, and simultaneous multiple surfaces method. The characteristics and limitations of these design methods are illustrated and a summary of these methods with future outlooks is also given.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1700310
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalLaser & Photonics Reviews
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • computation methods
  • freeform optics
  • illumination design
  • nonimaging optics


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