Spherical Aberration

updated: 2024-04-20

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In opticsspherical aberration (SA) is a type of aberration found in optical systems that have elements with spherical surfaces. This phenomenon commonly affects lenses and curved mirrors, as these components are often shaped in a spherical manner for ease of manufacturing. Light rays that strike a spherical surface off-centre are refracted or reflected more or less than those that strike close to the centre. This deviation reduces the quality of images produced by optical systems. The effect of spherical aberration was first identified by Ibn al-Haytham who discussed it in his work Kitāb al-Manāẓir.[1]

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point source as imaged by a system with negative (top row), zero (middle row), and positive spherical aberration (bottom row). The middle column shows the focused image, columns to the left show defocusing toward the inside, and columns to the right show defocusing toward the outside.

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