Sequential Ray Tracing
Sequential ray tracing is one of the core technologies in Zemax. Sequential ray tracing is used to model almost all imaging systems, including afocal systems. It is fast, flexible, and easy to optimize and tolerance.
The sequential paradigm is that light travels from surface to surface in a defined order. This allows a great simplification in ray tracing, as we always know which surface a ray will hit next.
In the lens data editor, a list of surfaces is set out, and rays must start at surface 0 (the object surface) and then trace to surface 1, 2, 3 etc until they reach the image (last) surface. The lens data editor for a sequential system looks like so:
and the layout of this system looks like this:
Related Knowledge Base articles:
Exploring Sequential Mode in Zemax