How to Select Fresnel Lenses       Image credit: Knight Optical | Kaye Lites   Fresnel lenses are specialized optical components with grooved surfaces instead of traditional curved ones. Owing to their unique design, Fresnel lenses are thin and lightweight, typically have short focal lengths, and are more efficient than conventional optical lenses.   Fresnel Lens Basics and Applications   Augustin-Jean Fresnel — an early 19th century...
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Q & A on Fresnel Lenses

We asked our users for their input on Fresnel Lenses. Here are the results of 94 users familiar with Fresnel 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 fresnel lens design?
13 answers
Answers:
Concentrated solar, Hydrogen compressors, rebirth of the Stirling.
~Albert Amorino A, Hydrogen Homes USA, Oceanport, NJ
Single point diamond turning manufacturing tools.
~Nils R, Manufacturer, Southampton, UK
Laser beam writing, injection molding, nanotechnology
~Research & Development, Schlieren, Switzerland
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Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative fresnel lenses?
11 answers
Answers:
Hexagon OY, Evonik Roehm GmbH
~Research & Development, Schlieren, Switzerland
Alenia Optics (in their field)
~Nils R, Manufacturer, Southampton, UK
Micro sharp is doing interesting things (innovative?)
~Engineering, Design, Jerusalem, Israel
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Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used a fresnel lens for?
25 answers
Answers:
Laser beam shaping white light beam shaping medical image processing
~Research & Development, Schlieren, Switzerland
Solar heat for applications as: metals processing, cooking (experimental).
~Engineering Consultant, Worcester, MA
Used as collimator and focusing in LED line light for vision applications.
~Arne M, Sales Engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
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Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that a fresnel lens has been used for.
10 answers
Answers:
You might like to see what I have been experimenting with in artwork. Go to wwwRedWolfFineArt.com then to the current artworks page and click on Fresnel. I am stacking two positive and one negative Fresnel lens in front of a half sphere of structural color thin films from 3M that mimic dichroic glasses optical transmitted light properties. I then ringed this with led's and a diffuser to create an illusion of a glowing sphere that changes from golds and greens when light is reflected from the surface to pinks, blues and purples when back lit with restating the LED's to light from behind. The fresnel optical element is embedded within a sandwiched aluminum honeycomb panel that has been etched to utilize what seems to me to be a stereoscopic or a crude approximation of a holographic like manipulation of light through the varying direction of the score pattern in the aluminum. As a painter, I am finding the most innovative way to look at what I might be able to develop in art is in investigating optics. The optics of color, particularly developments in the creation of structural color, and in the fundamentals of holography. Material science research and development focuses on advancing larger markets of automotive or electronics. At this point if the artists want to be informed at all they have to piggyback on the engineers. Historically art and science have been closely related. In our time, this has not been so obvious a connection. Where a large segment of the art world bemoans that there is nothing new, it has all be done before, just down the street you guys are pioneering the new. Since the cave paintings of Lascaux 40,000 years ago to nearly this very moment, we marveled at the range of color of the butterfly, but could never replicate it. Today's mastery of nano technology enables me to paint a 32' painting that will change multiple colors as you walk up to it. Thank you scientists. There is plenty new to be found. Where fresnel may not be the hottest topic around the keg what we can do with this technology is proving to be the show stopper wonder of all wonders.
~Red W, Artist, Potter Valley, CA
What is "non-standard"? Suspended-image displays are "non-standard" in the sense that there are not many of them around. I have worked on such displays at Expo 2005 (Japan) and Expo 2008 (Spain) to project the image of a virtual bird apparently perched on a real tree-branch. The effect is very realistic.
~Tony Clynick, Engineering Consultant, London, UK
On an opera stage, the male actor pretends to shave his face holding a big round fresnel lens as a shaving mirror in front of his face, enlarging his face for the spectators. forming LED line light used in a big Swedish furniture manufacturer's production line.
~Arne M, Sales Engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
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Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of a fresnel lens?
9 answers
Answers:
We used lens made for focusing in a collimating application, did not work well..
~Arne M, Sales Engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
DO NOT leave them outside unattended.
~Albert Amorino A, Hydrogen Homes USA, Oceanport, NJ
Using a fresnel as a polarizer and miscalculating the opposing angle, so the large sheets of quartz glass were totally useless and a very costly mistake.
~Virgil P, Primary Inventor and CEO, Singapore
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FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
12 answers
Answers:
A horizontal fresnel etched on the outside face of a glass tube which isolates the linear black body of a solar hot water trough. 2-3 meter long.
~Virgil P, Primary Inventor and CEO, Singapore
Very large lenses, possibly segmented for practical reasons, to make very large displays (eg. up to 6m diameter lenses).
~Tony Clynick, Engineering Consultant, London, UK
Non-spherical (e.g. elliptical, etc.) Multilens - superposition of lenses. Off normal axis.
~Fred H., Research & Development, Eagan, MN
Long, about 1meter, cylinder (linear) lenses with focal lengths 100 mm 150 mm 200 mm.
~Arne M, Sales Engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
Custom specified focal length, groove frequency, size,
~Henry J, Artist: Set Designer, Display designer, Itinerant, USA, Canada
Non imaging, no tracking solar concentrators.
~Socrates Pavis, Engineering Consultant, Athens, Greece
Complex shape for multi-purpose and multi focal use.
~Research & Development, Schlieren, Switzerland
I will be finished with my latest fresnel lens project within the next 2 weeks. I plan to go patent pending at that time. My latest prototype (Black Magic) has a ratio of one heat beam per every 8 inches. However, this is not the only factor that produces heat. The 5DH will feature one light beam per every 4.7 inches. But like I stated before, there are many other factors that can intensify the heat output. When I become patent pending, I will be at more liberty to explain these factors.
~Ricky B, Renewable Energy Inventor Entrepreneur, Piedmont, SC
Heat a Stirling H2 compressor with a magnetic flywheel incased by a coil of copper wire.
~Albert Amorino A, Hydrogen Homes USA, Oceanport, NJ
More freedom in prism shape
~Engineering, Design, Jerusalem, Israel
Aspheric off center design.
~Nils R, Manufacturer, Southampton, UK
Roll up capabilities
~Dave M, Retired medical professions, Covington, KY

Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of a fresnel lens?
7 answers
Answers:
Sure, in my opinion, you do not need to worry about the grooving or the thickness of the lens. The grooving is relatively standard, and the thickness of the lens is pretty well standard also. Usually .004 or .005 of an inch. The most important factor is the focal point and clarity of the lens.
~Ricky B, Renewable Energy Inventor Entrepreneur, Piedmont, SC
Very dense groove spacing can create unwanted reflections. A lower groove density with high quality surfaces is more useful.
~Tony Clynick, Engineering Consultant, London, UK
Remember a fresnel can only collect the light or sun light within its horizon.
~Virgil P, Primary Inventor and CEO, Singapore
Almost always depends on what they expect of the lens, so no standard advice.
~Arne M, Sales Engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
To understand what a Fresnel lens can be used for.
~Nils R, Manufacturer, Southampton, UK
Make sure you check the orientation.
~Research & Development, Schlieren, Switzerland
Don't get the cheap ones.
~Dave M, Retired medical professions, Covington, KY

Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using fresnel lenses?
7 answers
Answers:
The fresnel lens can be dangerous at the focal point. If a person wishes to use the fresnel lens for a fire starter or heat of some kind, please make sure all combustibles are out of the focal point range. This is anything that can burn. The lens project intense heat at the focal point. My prototype (Sunflower) utilizes lava rock as a heat absorber and distributor. The lens is melting the rock. The tips of the rock are liquefying. Lava rock has a melting point of 1000 to 3000 degrees Celsius, depending upon the composition of the rock. So, as you can see, the fresnel lens has a definite potential for a fire hazard. Every fixture I build, the focal point is well out of range of hazards. I purchase lens in quantity. I was buying from e-Bay until their pricing became unreasonable. I now purchase direct from China.
~Ricky B, Renewable Energy Inventor Entrepreneur, Piedmont, SC
Determine focal length, type of focus, and average light conditions for the application you wish to pursue.
~Engineering Consultant, Worcester, MA
Be cautious regarding their optical properties.
~Seymour H, Faculty/Staff, Jeruaalem, Israel
Be sure to find right lens for your application, not as easy as one assumes. Study some about the different types
~Arne M, Sales Engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
Know the focal length, understand the losses
~Virgil P, Primary Inventor and CEO, Singapore
Wear sun glasses.
~Dave M, Retired medical professions, Covington, KY
To understand/know what they really want
~Nils R, Manufacturer, Southampton, UK


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