Complex surfaces in optical system design

Many optical systems and also many methods for describing and minimizing aberrations in optical systems are still based on rotational symmetric systems consisting of spherical refractive lenses.

Fresnel lens in combination with freeform secondary collector optics for solar concentration.
Diffractive structure on top of a deformable membrane lens.

However today’s fabrication technologies allow the precise manufacturing and employment of a variety of complex surface forms:

  • Diffractive optical surfaces
  • Non-spherical surfaces, such as rotational-symmetric aspheres
  • Non-rotational symmetric surfaces, so-called free-form surfaces
  • Facetted optical surfaces, e.g. Fresnel lenses in illumination design
  • TIR reflectors for collimation of LED

 The optical design of systems containing such surfaces requires special tools and methods in order to employ the additional degrees of freedom and also in order to evaluate the aberrations and other relevant effects introduced by such surface forms.

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