November 1, 2015 (Vol. 35, No. 19)


Strong Points: Graphics load quickly, many sample models included
Weak Points: No theoretical background included, need to be familiar with optics




The RayLab app provides optics aficionados a virtual playground to play around with the design of optical systems. This app could be useful to those who are planning to design and build a microscope in their lab, for example. The “base” version of the app comes with 11 sample optical models preloaded, including a sample double Gauss lens system and a sample prism. Users can modify the models as an introduction to the app (and, thankfully, reset them once they’ve accidentally destroyed them beyond repair). App users can also design their own optical systems, with the ability to add 15 different optical features such as parabolic mirrors and apertures. As users manipulate the lens elements in their system, the screen updates with the resulting effective focal length and magnification. A number of in-app purchases add even more customization and viewing options.