Thursday, June 19, 2008

Aberration of Axial Points (Spherical Aberration In The Restricted Sense)

Let S (fig.5) be any optical system, rays proceeding from an axis point O under an angle u1 will unite in the axis point O'1; and those under an angle u2 in the axis point O'2. If there is refraction at a collective spherical surface, or through a thin positive lens, O'2 will lie in front of O'1 so long as the angle u2 is greater than u1 (under correction); and conversely with a dispersive surface or lenses (over correction).

The caustic, in the first case, resembles the sign > (greater than); in the second < (less than). If the angle u1 is very small, O'1 is the Gaussian image; and O'1 O'2 is termed the longitudinal aberration, and O'1R the lateral aberration of the pencils with aperture u2. If the pencil with the angle u2 is that of the maximum aberration of all the pencils transmitted, then in a plane perpendicular to the axis at O'1 there is a circular disk of confusion of radius O'1R, and in a parallel plane at O'2 another one of radius O'2R2; between these two is situated the disk of least confusion.

The largest opening of the pencils, which take part in the reproduction of O, i.e. the angle u, is generally determined by the margin of one of the lenses or by a hole in a thin plate placed between, before, or behind the lenses of the system. This hole is termed the stop or diaphragm; Abbe used the term aperture stop for both the hole and the limiting margin of the lens. The component S1 of the system, situated between the aperture stop and the object O, projects an image of the diaphragm, termed by Abbe the entrance pupil; the exit pupil is the image formed by the component S2, which is placed behind the aperture stop. All rays which issue from O and pass through the aperture stop also pass through the entrance and exit pupils, since these are images of the aperture stop.

Since the maximum aperture of the pencils issuing from O is the angle u subtended by the entrance pupil at this point, the magnitude of the aberration will be determined by the position and diameter of the entrance pupil. If the system be entirely behind the aperture stop, then this is itself the entrance pupil (front stop); if entirely in front, it is the exit pupil (back stop).

If the object point be infinitely distant, all rays received by the first member of the system are parallel, and their intersections, after traversing the system, vary according to their perpendicular height of incidence, i.e. their distance from the axis. This distance replaces the angle u in the preceding considerations; and the aperture, i.e. the radius of the entrance pupil, is its maximum value.

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