Shack, Roland V. Optics Science Center, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Spherical and aspheric surfaces
- Conics of revolution
- General aspherics of revolution
- Nonrotationally symmetric surfaces
- Eccentric mirrors
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Interfaces between different optical media at which light is refracted or reflected. From a physical point of view, the basic elements of an optical system are such things as lenses and mirrors. However, from a conceptual point of view, the basic elements of an optical system are the refracting or reflecting surfaces of such components, even though they cannot be separated from the components. Surfaces are the basic elements of an optical system because they are the elements that affect the light passing through the system. Every wavefront has its curvature changed on passing through each surface so that the final set of wavefronts in the image space may converge on the appropriate image points. Also, the aberrations of the system depend on each surface, the total aberrations of the system being the sum of the aberrations generated at the individual surfaces. See also: Aberration (optics); Reflection of electromagnetic radiation; Refraction of waves
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