I am a graduate student supervised by a computer scientist. We work on projects that require heavy experimental works on optics, for example a complicated self-built telescope, where many lenses, mirrors, a scientific camera, deformable mirrors so on have to be carefully aligned and tuned for best performance.

I have to do this alone. And I found it very difficult for me (my background is control; with little lab optics training).

There are few books about experimental optics. Also, in papers people do not detail on how they built (step by step) the device, but only show the results. And questions on experiments are relatively hard to both ask and get answered on websites such as StackExchange.

How may I learn to do lab optics in a quick and formal way? Any recommendations on lab optics?

  • $\begingroup$ What field are you seeking a degree? eg Physics or Computer Science. // Any chance in collaborating with a graduate physics student to do the optics part? $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ @MaxW I am pursuing an EE degree. This is a multidisciplinary area and my advisor is from CS. I am in a vision computing lab where most are math or CS guys. No professional optics grad student or postdoc I have known. $\endgroup$
    – WDC
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 0:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ have a look at the mit open courseware ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-computer-science/… $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 5:47

1 Answer 1


If you haven't already heard of it, consider Building Scientific Apparatus. That was always a big favorite of my professor who built everything himself. Chapter 4 is on optical systems and 7 is detectors.


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