GLAD Short Course

Aug 5-7, 2015, San Diego, CA. Registration

is the acknowledged leader in physical optics and laser modeling. Learn to master this important field and the GLAD program in a three-day course. Instructors: Dr. George N. Lawrence, developer of GLAD.

The participant will gain intuitive understanding of diffraction, optical propagation, laser gain, waveguides, and selected nonlinear optics components; learn the essentials of numerical modeling. Instruction will be by lectures on the underlying theory, in-depth discussion of numerous practical examples, and hands-on experience in solving problems in guided computer instruction sessions.

This course is an introductory course in the use of GLAD to model physical optics effects when diffraction, gain, nonlinear interactions and coherence are important. This course does not assume prior experience with GLAD, but does assume some knowledge of optics and/or lasers.

Course Instructor

George Lawrence is the President of Applied Optics Research, AOR, and the author of the GLAD Program. He has been a leading researcher in physical optics modeling for more than 20 years and taught lens design and optical modeling as an associate professor at the Optical Sciences Center, University of Arizona. He received his Ph.D. in optical sciences from Optical Science Center, University of Arizona (1980).

Course Summary

We will select from the following topics as the three-day schedule permits. Early registrants are encouraged to submit suggestions of topics and problems to be included in the course. Please email suggestions to

Working with GLAD

The course shows how to apply GLAD to a wide variety of practical and research applications through hands-on training. The participant will learn to use the powerful GLAD command language to model both simple and complex systems and to get started with the more than 500 examples provided with the program in 125 major categories. Topics include physical optics propagation, simple and complex aberrations and apertures; detailed geometric analysis of complex optical systems; stable, unstable, and ring resonators; detailed rate equation gain; transient response; Q-switch lasers; atmospheric and thermal effects; selected nonlinear optics models; dielectric and reflecting wall waveguides; organizing long calculations and summarizing results; generating graphics; understanding and controlling aliasing and other sampling problems.


Fresnel diffraction; gaussian beams; Talbot imaging; high Fresnel number effects; propagators including transfer function, Fourier integral; finite difference propagator; fast Hankel transform; vector diffraction; high numerical systems and vector diffraction; dipole projection approach to vector diffraction; polarization-dependent diffraction effects; waveguide propagation in dielectrics; input-output coupling for waveguides; coupled waveguides; multimode waveguides; propagation through gradient index (GRIN) media; through-focus image structure; propagation through thick components including thick refractive elements, thick prisms, tilted apertures, tilted phase plates, grazing incidence mirrors, and non-Fourier propagation methods.

System analysis

Relationship of physical and geometrical optics; role of paraxial optics in physical optics propagation; uses of the ABCD method; integration of geometrical ray tracing into physical optics analysis; aberrations including Seidel, Zernike; phase and amplitude gratings, random phase plates; atmospheric aberration; LENSGROUP commands; thermal blooming; beam propagation in tilted and decentered systems; diffraction propagation by imaging principles; spatial filters; interferometers including Tyman Green, Mach Zender, point diffracting, Michaelson, and shearing interferometers; Schlieren systems; multiple mirror systems; lens arrays; partial coherence effects; laser diode to optical fiber relay systems; binary optics; volume holograms; thermal modeling; beam characterization including modulation transfer function (MTF), Strehl ratio, wavefront variance, M squared, irradiance uniformity, etc.

Photonics devices

3D and 2D waveguides, optical fibers, fiber-to-fiber coupling, directional couplers, y-combiners, y-branches, geodesoc lenses, the effective index method.


Stable and unstable resonators, numerical analysis methods; use of the RESONATOR commands; intercavity components; ideal and "real" cavity modes, transverse mode competition; spectral selectivity and longitudinal modes; coherent coupling; loaded cavity calculations, including nonlinear gain.

Gain media and nonlinear optics

Simple saturated gain models, rate equation models and transient effects; Q-switched devices; Raman amplifiers; second harmonic generation; optical parametric oscillators (OPO's) and k-matching effects; spontaneous emission including treatment of random noise; excimer lasers and speckle smoothing techniques.


Nonlinear least squares optimization; special considerations for physical optics, optimization of time-varying problems, optimization by phase retrieval, optimization by simulated annealing.

GLAD internals

Structure of the program, memory management, surrogate gaussian beams, automatic propagation control, selection of propagation algorithms.