Optical mounts are specialized holders designed for use with a variety of optical assemblies.  This is a large and inclusive product classification that includes devices of many shapes and sizes to handle a wide array of optical components.  Individual optical mounts are designed to accommodate specific types of optical apparatus.  They are used to mount or hold optical filters, all types of lenses, mirrors, polarizers, prism tables, iris diaphragms, filter wheels, diodes, laser mounts, beam steerers, and many other types of optical components.  Additionally, optical mounts are available with circular, square, or rectangular holding fixtures based upon the type of component they are designed to mount.

Styles of Optical Mounts

Optical mounts may be of fixed, kinematic, or gimbal styles.  Fixed mounts permit no adjustment. These devices usually have a retaining ring that holds the mounting cell in place.  They are usually used in stacking applications, especially with neutral density filters, as well as a variety of mirrors, beamsplitters, and other apparatus.

 

Kinematic mounting is the most commonly used approach for providing two-axis rotational adjustment in optical mounts. In a kinematic mount, the center of rotation is located somewhat off the optic surface. As a result, any adjustment usually results in both angular movement and translation of the reflected/transmitted light. Furthermore, the adjustment axes are not completely independent in a kinematic mount.

 

Gimbal mounts imply that the center of rotation is located at the geometrical center and on the front surface of the optical component. They are typically used when even small changes in optical path length are critical. Gimbal optical mounts are usually more mechanically complex, and thus more costly, than kinematic mounts.

 

All optical mounts have a clear aperture, which is an opening in the mount of an optical system or its components that restricts the extent of the light rays incident on the given surface.  The aperture is usually circular and specified by a diameter.