Tolerancing and its Role in Illumination and Nonsequential Optical Design

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Tolerancing is a subject that is often overlooked, or not fully addressed, in the design of illumination and nonsequential optical systems. Tolerancing methods are well developed and understood in the lens design and imaging system design fields, but tolerancing of illumination and nonsequential optics is a much less well-developed field. Optical design and optimization software tools can allow the designer to make new and exciting designs, but it is possible that the design may not be economical to manufacture due to the sensitivity of the design to variations in the manufacturing process. New tolerance analysis tools in optical design and analysis software allows designers and engineers to evaluate the effect of manufacturing variations and how it will affect the overall performance of the system. This makes it possible to see if a design is truly practical and economical. We will look at the tolerancing methodology as well as some tolerancing examples in this article. 

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