Optical Aberration

updated: 2024-04-20

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In opticsaberration is a property of optical systems, such as lenses, that causes light to be spread out over some region of space rather than focused to a point.[1] Aberrations cause the image formed by a lens to be blurred or distorted, with the nature of the distortion depending on the type of aberration. Aberration can be defined as a departure of the performance of an optical system from the predictions of paraxial optics.[2] In an imaging system, it occurs when light from one point of an object does not converge into (or does not diverge from) a single point after transmission through the system. Aberrations occur because the simple paraxial theory is not a completely accurate model of the effect of an optical system on light, rather than due to flaws in the optical elements.[3]

An image-forming optical system with aberration will produce an image which is not sharp. Makers of optical instruments need to correct optical systems to compensate for aberration.

Aberration can be analyzed with the techniques of geometrical optics. The articles on reflectionrefraction and caustics discuss the general features of reflected and refracted rays.

By Synkizz - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Reflection from a spherical mirror. 

Incident rays (red) away from the center of the mirror produce reflected rays (green) that miss the focal point, F. 

This is due to spherical aberration.

Monochromatic aberrations

The most common monochromatic aberrations are:

Although defocus is technically the lowest-order of the optical aberrations, it is usually not considered as a lens aberration, since it can be corrected by moving the lens (or the image plane) to bring the image plane to the optical focus of the lens.

In addition to these aberrations, piston and tilt are effects which shift the position of the focal point. Piston and tilt are not true optical aberrations, since when an otherwise perfect wavefront is altered by piston and tilt, it will still form a perfect, aberration-free image, only shifted to a different position.

Chromatic aberrations

Main article: Chromatic aberration

By Cmglee - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Chromatic aberration occurs when different wavelengths are not focussed to the same point. Types of chromatic aberration are:

  • Axial (or "longitudinal") chromatic aberration
  • Lateral (or "transverse") chromatic aberration

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