New Opportunities for Reflection
Military, space, industrial and scientific imaging applications share similar needs for low-cost, high-quality, lightweight optical elements. Recent advances in the quality and availability of replicated mirror optics have increased their usefulness and their ability to compete with elements created through traditional optical manufacturing techniques.
Dioptric optics (lens element optics) have dominated the imaging optics industry, but manufacturing them requires the polishing skills of highly trained technicians. Material for dioptrics components is also expensive, and a designer must use extra elements to reduce the chromatic aberrations that these components create.
Often reduced to two mirrors at low incidences, catoptric (mirror optics) optical designs such as Cassegrain and other derived optical designs have found their main use in astronomic telescopes. The time has come to open up the field.
The increasing availability of high-quality, low-cost, lightweight catoptric elements is creating an evolution in the use of wide spectrum bandwidth (VIS-IR) optics, and single and double IR band mirror-coated optics, especially achromatic and replica molding mirrors…
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