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Lens Aberrations: Avoiding Defects in Imagery

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A perfect lens can produce a perfect image. But seven primary lens aberrations can blur or distort the image instead, and they should be considered when creating an optical system.

Bruce H. Walker, Walker Associates

A lens collects light from a point on an object and focuses it to a corresponding conjugate point on an image. Under most conditions, the lens fails at this task because of some error in the precision with which it focuses this light. Rather than a true point image, the lens produces a blur circle. It is the function of the optical designer to assure that this blur circle is sufficiently small to allow the required resolution or image quality. The inability of a lens to form a perfect image is caused by lens aberrations. The following paragraphs will describe the seven aberrations and discuss...Read full article

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