PanDao Exporter Tool

This article describes the use of the PanDao exporter tool in Zemax OpticStudio. PanDao is a groundbreaking optics supply chain modulation software that analyzes optical elements, identifies required fabrication technologies, and determines the minimum cost and duration of fabrication and testing. Additionally, it optimizes the designs to enhance producibility. Additional information as well as the online tool can be found on the official website: PanDao, from optics to fabrication.

Authored By 

Niki Papachristou


Double Gauss 28 degree field original

Double Gauss 28 degree field with aspheric


The PanDao exporter is an easy and quick way of gathering information from OpticStudio relevant to manufacturing. The fundamental procedure for utilizing the PanDao exporter entails performing tolerance analysis following the completion of an optical design. Data are collected from the Lens Data Editor (LDE) and the Tolerance Data Editor (TDE) and passed to PanDao online software which provides cost and time estimations, as well as fabrication and testing techniques. The existing capabilities of PanDao exporter include the support for rotationally symmetric surfaces, which can take the form of either spheres or aspheres. In the upcoming sections, an example lens (Double Gauss 28 degree field) will be utilized to clarify the practical application of PanDao exporter and online tool. Finally, we will present how an optical engineer can use these tools to compare the relative merits of two optical designs.

1.1 Overview

The PanDao software interprets .json files, and consequently, PanDao exporter in OpticStudio generates files of this specified format. Data from the LDE and the TDE are extracted and imported to the PanDao online tool through the .json file. The procedure consists of three main steps:

STEP 1: The optical engineer must complete the design and introduce the tolerance operands into the TDE.

STEP 2: Export data using PanDao exporter in OpticStudio.

STEP 3: Import data to PanDao online software.

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1.2 Optical Design, LDE, TDE

In this article we will use the Double Gauss with 28 degree field lens. The lens can be found in the Zemax Samples files folder (Zemax\Samples\Sequential\Objectives). For the purposes of the exercise, we built a TDE with operands that are required to be imported into the PanDao online software. It is recommended for the reader to use the same operands to replicate the results. The .json file is exported by clicking the Export to PanDao button on the File tab:


1.3 Data export

The exporter window requires the user to specify both the name of the lens to be exported and the folder location where the .json will be saved. The output in the log shows that the ZOS API is initialized, and the optic model properties are being read.  Moreover, the lens surfaces are identified as well as the tolerance operands of the optical design. The user will be able to save the file if no errors are indicated. In any other case the errors need to be corrected to move on to the next steps.


By pressing Export, the .json file for this lens will appear in the specified folder and the output log will be updated with all the information that .json holds:


1.4 Import data to PanDao online software

PanDao Software requires registration online, this can be achieved through the official website. After logging in, the user can import the .json file simply by clicking on the “Load From file” option on PanDao website:


The user is required to check whether the correct values have been imported on each property and manually add the ones that are missing. Missing values means that OpticStudio does not have this information. Examples are Lens batch sizes, number of lenses, defect sizes, roughness, number of facets, etc. All sections (General information, Side 1, Side 2 and Options) have to be inspected:



The Radius of removal sphere is one of the values that PanDao requires to proceed to the analysis for aspheric surfaces. This value can be extracted from OpticStudio through the Surface Sag analysis window, or be using the DSAG operand on the merit function editor [1]:



1.5 Cost and time estimation, fabrication and testing techniques

The PanDao outputs are shown in the image below, the user can click on the arrows and get detailed information regarding the fabrication chains, the material costs, the center grinding, the coating, and the testing techniques:


2. Showcase for an optical engineer

One of the most common tasks for an optical engineer is to create a lens design that will have the optical performance required for their system. At the same time in most cases, they need to consider the costs, the testing techniques, weights and mechanical shapes, and alignment procedures. We used PanDao software to create a showcase of this task, where we compare the manufacturing costs of two lenses. The first lens is the Double Gauss with 28 degree field lens, while the second is a redesigned version of the same lens. More specifically, we converted the first surface of the first lens to an Even Asphere and as a result the last lens could be eliminated while keeping similar optical performance. Considering that the two doublets will have similar costs for both cases, we compared the total costs of the two lenses (first and last) for the first Gaussian lens with the cost of the one lens for the second Gaussian lens. Below there is an image of the layouts of these two lenses.


The results from PanDao Online software for the first lens of the first Gaussian are shown in the image below. We followed the same procedure for the other two lenses, and we created a comparison table of the cheapest and fastest chain for the two lenses. The first lens has lower fabrication costs. However, the second one would have lower weight and less optical aberrations, while the first should require easier optical alignment procedures.




PanDao is a tool that provides cost and testing information from small to mass optics manufacturing sizes. Moreover, Zemax OpticStudio holds information on lenses which are important to manufacturers for cost estimation. The combinations of these software can provide time and cost-effective solutions for an optical engineer.


[1] Asphericity of aspheric and freeform parts


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