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ASK THE EXPERT: Process awareness optimizes aspheric lens production, performance

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Spherical and aspherical lenses are everywhere—from consumer optics and smartphone cameras to automotive vision systems and military laser and night-vision electronics. While spherical lenses, having a constant radius surface, are easier to make, aspheric lenses of varying profiles offer custom and tighter optical performance.

Because of their design and fabrication methods, aspherical lenses require consideration of several factors to ensure that they can be manufactured within the constraints of the project. Once an optical designer is aware of which characteristics are important to a specific design, lens specifications can maximize performance while minimizing cost. An asphere that is initially designed to be readily manufacturable also lessens the need for costly revisions.

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