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Optimizing Freeform Optics

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Design and fabrication of unconventional optical surfaces are enabling novel imaging systems that have potential in astronomy and space imaging.

VALERIE C. COFFEY, SCIENCE WRITER

Astronomical imaging from both ground and space provides precise data, and each has its pros and cons. Ground-based observation benefits from flexible infrastructure with large telescopes and instruments but suffers from atmospheric turbulence and light pollution, whereas observation from space is free of turbulence, but the telescopes must meet onerous size, weight, and cost restrictions for launch. The size and weight of space telescopes continue growing while costs must be reduced. Concave detector array prototypes stand to improve the efficiency of freeform optics. Courtesy of...Read full article

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