ATM Optical Design and Analysis Software

written by Massimo Riccardi


ATMOS History
Analysis Slides
Telescope Design Slides
Download ATMOS demo
Order/Contact the Author

NEW 8.7 Version

(now supporting Tolerance Analysis )

ATMOS History

My name is Massimo Riccardi I am an italian Optical Designer and advanced Amateur Telescope Maker .
Many years ago, after mastering my optical knowledge, I felt the need of a program capable to perform SpotDiagrams for many wavelengths at the same time.
So, just for fun, in that period I tried to write a routine capable to perform such polichromatic Spotdiagrams using the only programming language I knew: QBASIC.
I did it and I succeeded and, as it often happens, I felt the need to improve it again by adding several analysis routines.
It was born the first version of "ATMOS" (ATM Optical design and analysis Software).
At that time it was for personal use only.
Then,unsatisfied with DOS & QBASIC capabilities, I chose a programming language that ran under MS-WINDOWS.
In this way I could get not only a better program "look" but most of all a user-friendly interface with many windows, buttons, textboxes where you can type the data or display the results.
So I rewrote ATMOS in Visual Basic and added much more analysis routines and useful telescope design tools.

ATMOS now is a very powerful program with a user-friendly interface that allows the user to Analyze, Design and OPTIMIZE Centered/Uncentered optical systems.
Atmos is appreciated worldwide by amateurs and professional users and is under continuous developement.

ATMOS supports up to 100 surfaces and Obscuration Screens. It includes a powerful routine for Optimization,adjustable Aperture Stop position and supports both Finite/Infinte Object Distance .It also displays an improved 2D, 3D-Layouts .

I wish to thank :

- ROLAND CHRISTEN owner of the well-known telescopes firm AstroPhysics .

- ATMOS 8.7 Features

ATMOS 8.7 incorporates a wide range of features :

Number of Surfaces
Surface Types

Number of waveLengths
Number of rays
Object Distance
Aperture Stop

Centered and Uncentered
up to 100 + focal plane
Spheres,Conics ,High-Orders
Obscuration Screens
up to 6
up to 30000
Adjustable position

ANALYSIS (graphical and/or tabular)

  • Multi-Analysis Plot

  • Polichromatic Detailed SpotDiagrams

  • Multi-SpotDiagrams (through focus/field)

  • Matrix SpotDiagrams

  • Total Field SpotDiagrams

  • RMS Spot radius Versus: Focus,Field,WaveLength

  • RMS Wavefront Versus: Focus,Field,WaveLength

  • STREHL ratio Versus: Focus,Field,WaveLength

  • Geometric Encircled Energy Plot

  • Diffraction Encircled Energy Plot

  • 3D-Geometric Point Spread Function

  • 3D-Diffraction Point Spread Function

  • Geometric MTF

  • Geometric through focus MTF

  • Diffraction MTF

  • Diffraction through focus MTF

  • Ray-Intercept Curves

  • OPD Fan Plot

  • 3D-Wavefront Surface

  • Wavefront Map

  • Zernike Analysis

  • Ronchigram

  • Simulated color diffraction image

  • Interferogram

  • Spherical Aberration

  • Coma (OSC)

  • Astigmatism, Field Curvature

  • Distortion

  • Lateral Color

  • Chromatic Focal Shift

  • Real Rays

  • Paraxial Calculation

  • Vignetting Plot

  • FootPrint Diagram

  • Ghost Analysis

  • Tolerance Analysis

  • 2-D LAYOUT

  • 3-D LAYOUT


  • OPTIMIZATION (curvatures,thicknesses and conics)

  • RMS Spot size Optimization

  • RMS Wavefront Optimization

  • Best Focus Position

  • Scale system to a new focal length

  • Scale system by factor

  • Sagitta table

  • Aberration Allowances

  • Element Drawings

  • System Data Report

  • Schott glass catalogue (built in)

  • Ohara glass catalogue (built in)

  • Corning glass catalogue (built in)

  • Hoya glass catalogue (built in)

  • LZOS (russian) glass catalogue (built in)

  • CHENGDU (chinese) glass catalogue (built in)

  • Special Medium catalogue (Fluorite plus several plastic materials)

  • Dispersion diagrams for all glass catalogs

  • Create and Export .OPD files to ABERRATOR package


One of the most useful and pleasant tool for the ATM is the "Telescope Design" Menu.
You can easily and quickly design and then analyze about 30 optical configurations:

  • Newtonian

  • Two Mirrors (All Cassegrain types,all Gregoryan types,Couder-Schwarzschield)

  • Schmidt and Wright cameras

  • Schmidt Cassegrain (compact and no-compact Schmidt-Cass. types, Monocentric Schmidt-Cass.)

  • Maksutov (new design window)

  • Maksutov-Cassegrain (new design window)

  • Lurie-Houghton (all-spherical and aspherical types)

  • Houghton-Cassegrain (all-spherical and aspherical types)

  • Doublets

  • Triplets


The following are some screen shots taken from ATMOS.



-MATRIX Spot-Diagam

-Polichromatic MULTI-SPOTDIAGRAM (through Focus/Field)

-GHOST Analysis

-STREHL Ratio versus WaveLength

-Diffraction POINT SPREAD FUNCTION (FFT method))

-Simulated Color Diffraction Image

-WAVEFRONT (3D rotation)



-Through focus MTF (Modulation Transfer Function)

-Longitudinal,Transversal SPHERICAL ABERRATION and COMA (Offense against the Sine Condition)


- 2D and 3D LAYOUTS

- Element DRAWINGS


Here are some screen shots from the "Telescope Design" Menu':




- Download ATMOS FreeWare

This is full function program, but limited up to 3 optical surfaces (except for the sample files). You can design and analyze with this version Newtonian and classical two mirror telescopes . This version will introduce you to the ATMOS interface and give you a feel for the features of the program Obviously,it cannot do everything the real program can.
ATMOS FREEWARE comes with 36 sample files, and you can load up and analyze any of them.

Download the following file:

- ATMOS FreeWare - (about 4 MB)

After downloading "Atmos Demo.zip" , unzip it then double-click on "setup.exe" for ATMOS self-installation.


ATMOS can be delivered either via e-mail or on CD-ROM by postal air mail .
Delivery via e-mail is preferred.

Please write to Massimo Riccardi at :

-Outside EUROPE
Please visit/contact Astro-Physics website at :


11250 Forest Hills Road, Rockford, IL 61115, U.S.A. Phone: 815-282-1513 Fax: 815-282-9847

- Links

AstroPhysics Astro-Physics telescopes website
Astro Service Wolfgang Rohr's website for optical testing.
OpTaliX optical design package written by Fritz Blechinger
MODAS , Ivan Krastev Modern Optical Software
ABERRATOR written by Cor Berrevoets is a Freeware that generates Star-Testings images to show the effects of aberrations influencing the quality of a telescope.

I'm not responsible for any damages during or after the use of ATMOS optical design and analysis software.

Last update January 2012


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