Recent discoveries in the rich landscape of aplanatic optics

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Aplanatic optics were invented over a century ago, motivated principally to achieve high-fidelity imaging in telescopes, microscopes and cameras. Aplanats are designed to completely eliminate the two leading orders of geometric aberration-spherical and comatic-and the simplest designs comprise two contours that can be reflective and/or refractive. Aplanats of high radiative efficiency can also approach the thermodynamic limit to flux concentration and light collimation-of particular value in nonimaging applications such as solar energy collection, light-emitting-diode collimation, and infrared technology. Recently, it was discovered that the original aplanatic mirrors and lenses cover only a small spot in a rich landscape of fundamental categories of optical devices, which opened a broad spectrum of powerful new designs. In this presentation we review these advances, and summarize the complete classification schemes that have now been elucidated for aplanats. They include examples of practical designs for achieving radiative transfer near the thermodynamic limit in flux concentration and irradiation applications, based on dual-mirror, dual-contour lens and lens-mirror combinations. The representative designs that are illustrated also include the most recent progress in Fresnel (faceted) aplanats, motivated by the quest for progressively more compact optical systems, as well as examples of hybrid designs-combining aplanats of different classifications for enhanced performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIllumination Optics V
EditorsTina E. Kidger, Stuart David
ISBN (Electronic)9781510619234
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018
EventIllumination Optics V 2018 - Frankfurt, Germany
Duration: 14 May 201816 May 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceIllumination Optics V 2018


  • Collimation
  • Concentration
  • Nonimaging
  • Planatic optic
  • Radiative efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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