How to Select Optical Lenses                  Image credit: Thorlabs | Knight Optical Ltd.   An optical lens is a transparent optical component used to converge or diverge light emitted from a peripheral object. The transmitted light rays then form a real or virtual image of the object.   Optical Lens Basics   Lenses are a good example of transmissive optical components, meaning...
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Q & A on Optical Lenses

We asked our users for their input on Optical Lenses. Here are the results of 103 users familiar with Optical Lenses.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice |

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing optical lens design?
15 answers
Answers:
Free-form technology is allowing steeper (wrap-around) base curves to be used and still achieve good standards of oblique peripheral viewing for the consumer.
~Paul S, Loupe & light Specialist Optician, Northampton, UK
Application for uses. There is always something new to push for a different kind of lens.
~Jon P, Student, Tallahassee, FL
Computer controlled surfacing, so that parabolic lenses can be made more cheaply.
~Faculty/Staff, Louisville, KY
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Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative optical lenses?
14 answers
Answers:
Hard to tell, different companies are focusing in different areas and so it is difficult to compare.
~George C, President of BC Photonics Technological Co., Richmond, Canada
Don´t know, our optical designs are almost always based on standard lenses.
~Roberto A, Research & Development, Sao Paulo, Brazil
All my stuff is one of "specials." Scientific and Optical meet my needs.
~John A, Engineer, New Romney,Kent, UK
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Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used optical lenses for?
23 answers
Answers:
The detailed info is not proprietary. We are developing a new source of energy which involves laser density and Rodin coils. It will provide a source of electricity without external input. The lines of density uses a plasma ball to generate the power. The viewport is a way to see the laser properties and the characteristics of the product.
~Paul, Builder/Contractor, Virginia Beach, VA
Build optical systems for research purposes - Diffuse Optical Communication, Photothermal Imaging and Sensing, Surface Plasmon Resonance, Thermal Characterization
~George C, President of BC Photonics Technological Co., Richmond, Canada
Microscope alteration and design. Repair to vintage and traditional optical equipment specializing in telescopic gun sights and military telescopes.
~John A, Engineer, New Romney,Kent, UK
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Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that optical lenses have been used for.
11 answers
Answers:
In science class we make optical telescopes using 1-1/2" lenses, paper towel tubes, and masking tape. The super-cheap plastic toy lenses don't work, we need reasonably decent optical quality, but at a low price. We have made a few using PVC pipe, but that is costly with a large class. We could use seconds (minor chips on the edges, etc.).
~Faculty/Staff, Louisville, KY
Optical lenses can be used in photothermal imaging to view objects down to 20 nm or smaller. This has been demonstrated in observing gold nanoparticles.
~George C, President of BC Photonics Technological Co., Richmond, Canada
Aspherical & fresnel lenses for changing light beam width from examination lights.
~Paul S, Loupe & light Specialist Optician, Northampton, UK
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Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of optical lenses?
9 answers
Answers:
I heard of people couldn't find the image and that's because the wrong focal length was used. In another situation the image was too dim, the reason is that the illumination of the object is not uniform and that can be avoided if Kohler illumination is used.
~George C, President of BC Photonics Technological Co., Richmond, Canada
I tell my students every year NEVER look at the sun through their lenses. Fortunately they listened, so no disastrous mistakes so far.
~Faculty/Staff, Louisville, KY
Yes, an Army armourer used the wrong F/L objective lens doublet as a replacement for a damaged one on a sniper scope.
~John A, Engineer, New Romney,Kent, UK
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FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
13 answers
Answers:
I would like small quantities of 1-1/2" diameter lenses of varying focal lengths for $1.00 or less per lens. A wide variety of small optical mirrors would be nice too.
~Faculty/Staff, Louisville, KY
1) Detailed specs for lenses working in NIR (780 - 940 nm); 2) NIR lenses optimized for collimating IR led light
~Roberto A, Research & Development, Sao Paulo, Brazil
I would like to see someone like Lieca introduce a loupe magnification system for Surgeons/dentists
~Paul S, Loupe & light Specialist Optician, Northampton, UK
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Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using optical lenses?
7 answers
Answers:
Don't just choose a lens based on its focal length and diameter that suits for the application, do also look into the configuration as different configurations have different amount of aberrations. Also, if one can afford, try to use higher refractive index because the curvature is less and the quality is better Moreover, if possible, try to use doublet instead of singlet as that would take care chromatic aberrations.
~George C, President of BC Photonics Technological Co., Richmond, Canada
For spectacle lenses (as for many other applications) it is essential to look at the V value (ABBE no.) compared to the refractive index and specific gravity/density as higher refractive materials do produce thinner lenses (spectacle) but they can be heavier and produce an unwanted increase in chromatic aberrations
~Paul S, Loupe & light Specialist Optician, Northampton, UK
Always prefer lenses which are accurately specified in terms of mechanical characteristics, many designs just don't work properly because lenses are just misplaced, and this happens due to the designer has to do some guesswork regarding dimensions (diameter, curvature, etc.).
~Roberto A, Research & Development, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Yes, high refractive index, fast color change, thickness of the lens,UV protection, impact resistance.
~Debebe K., General Management, Addis abeba, Ethiopia
Buy the largest diameter, best quality you can afford.
~Fred M, CNC Operator, Lawrenceburg, TN
Usually a higher price gives you better quality
~Normand M, Manufacturer, Sudbury, Canada
No, the market has plenty of excellent lenses.
~Pere Pons Tomas, Photographer, Barcelona, SPAIN

Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of optical lenses?
11 answers
Answers:
A common error is that larger diameter of a lens would give better resolution. This is only true if all the aberrations have been taken care of. The reality is the larger the diameter, the higher its aberrations and it is more difficult to correct.
~George C, President of BC Photonics Technological Co., Richmond, Canada
To put eye glass in the pocket with out a case. The lens curvature vertex is always damaged and it becomes opaque.
~Debebe K., General Management, Addis abeba, Ethiopia
Do the math! Know what focal length you need. Also know how much chromatic aberration you can deal with.
~Faculty/Staff, Louisville, KY
Have a good discussion with the supplier about the requirements you are looking for.
~Engineering, Design, Venlo, Netherlands
Secure is common to buy the best and after do not work with them.
~Pere Pons Tomas, Photographer, Barcelona, SPAIN
Pay attention to number of elements, corrections, and coatings.
~Fred M, CNC Operator, Lawrenceburg, TN
Consider diffraction limit of lens vis a vis ccd/cmos size.
~V Raghavan R, Scientist, Jodhpur, India
Be precise in relating the primary use for the lenses.
~Normand M, Manufacturer, Sudbury, Canada
Use reputable labs and take advice from peers.
~Paul S, Loupe & light Specialist Optician, Northampton, UK
Model, model, mathematically model
~Jesse S, Student, Virginia, MN
Chromatic aberrations
~Paolo S, Faculty/Staff, Merate, Italy


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