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Blog — Optics University

Concepts in Light and Optics – Lenses – Part 3

Posted by Bill Hill on

Having covered the basic types of lens configurations, as well as, the mechanical parameters used to define a lens shape, we will now discuss how opticians and fabricators characterize the precision of lens surfaces.

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Concepts in Light and Optics – Lenses – Part 2

Posted by Bill Hill on

Now that we’ve covered the basic type of lens configurations and how, by design, lenses either converge (focus) or diverge light, we can begin to explore the various characteristics that define their physical shape. Overall, there are many parameters that govern the performance of a lens. As previously discussed, it is the specific optical properties of a given material, namely its refractive index and dispersion, that influence light’s behavior when passing between mediums. Opticians build upon these carefully controlled properties by generating highly precise curvature (radii) across the surface of their lenses. By combining this curvature in relation to a...

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Concepts in Light and Optics - Lenses - Part 1

Posted by Bill Hill on

We welcome our readers back to our continuing technical series on the Concepts of Light and Optics. So far we’ve examined the nature of light and how it propagates, the principles of refraction and dispersion, material characteristics, interferometry, as well as, the fundamental specifications of plano optics. Building on all of these discussions, we now move on to a topic that is at the heart of optical fabrication – lenses. Lenses represent the workhorse of most optical systems. Properly designed and manufactured, these essential elements manipulate light, allowing scientists to examine everything from the minute details of cellular structure using...

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Concepts in Light and Optics – Optical Specifications – Plano Optics

Posted by Bill Hill on

In our previous articles we learned that optical materials are defined by their ability to refract and disperse light, as well as, the physical characteristics of the material itself. Using these properties, an optical designer determines which material, or often times several different materials, best suit the intended purpose of their system. But choosing a material is only the first step in the process. More often than not, a simple polished surface that is smooth and defect free to the unaided eye, would cause any number of unwanted optical effects when assembled into a fully integrated system. It is important...

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Concepts in Light and Optics – Interferometry

Posted by Bill Hill on

We’ve reached a crossroads in our discussion of the concepts in light and optics.  Previously, we learned that optical materials are manufactured to have very specific refractive and dispersive properties, and it is these characteristics that optical designers rely upon to manipulate light to a desired purpose.  We’ve also discussed that material properties such as stress, fluorescence, coefficient of thermal expansion and homogeneity play a large role in how an optic behaves when incorporated into a fully integrated system.  But once an appropriate material has been chosen, whether for use as a lens, window, prism, or mirror (among others), how...

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