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Chapter 11: Alignment and Precision Engineering

As I said in the first chapter, I hope to make these articles into a book on alignment after significant editing to organize the material coherently. In that spirit, and before I forget, let me discuss some aspects of alignment and precision engineering that belong in a Preface or Introduction to the book rather than […]

Chapter 10: Index of Refraction and Lens Conjugates        

This Chapter is a little out of order but illuminates a topic we have hinted at in previous Chapters, how does the index of refraction affect the lens conjugates we see when doing centration? The immediate interest came from a call I got because some glass apparently got mixed up in a batch of identical […]

What is an Autostigmatic Microscope (ASM) and the Origin of the Point Source Microscope (PSM)

When most people think of a microscope it is one that works in transmission with the light source on one side of the sample and the microscope objective and eyepiece on the other. An autostigmatic microscope (ASM) works in reflection, just like an autocollimator, so the light source is in the microscope body, and is […]

Physical Ray Tracing with Bessel Beams

Robert E. ParksOptical Perspectives Group, LLC Tucson, AZ 85750 Daewook KimJ. C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences The University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 75721 INTRODUCTION Following the discovery of so called non- diffracting Bessel beams [1], they have been used for a number of exotic purposes such as trapping single atoms and aiding in the […]

Optical alignment using the Point Source Microscope

Robert E. Parks and William P. KuhnOptical Perspectives Group, LLC, 9181 E. Ocotillo Drive, Tucson, AZ 85749 ABSTRACT We give an example of a Point Source Microscope (PSM) and describe its uses as an aid in the alignment of optical systems including the referencing of optical to mechanical datums. The PSM is a small package […]

A Short History of the CaliBall™ and the Random Ball Test

Back in the late 1990’s NIST had a number of firms that wanted to send their interferometer transmission spheres there for calibration but NIST was not in this sort of calibration business. While I was at NIST consulting for Chris Evans in the Precision Machining Facility we thought of the idea of a self-calibration test […]

Chapter 9: Creating and Viewing Single Paraxial Ray

From the beginning we have said that centering a lens meant aligning the optical axis of the lens to a reference axis. Up to this point we have assumed the axis was the mechanical axis of a rotary table. Because there are disadvantages to using a rotary table, I was curious to see if there […]

Chapter 8: Alignment of 3 Centers of Curvature

A convenient and concrete example of aligning three centers of curvature is the cementing of the doublet we used in the optical axis example in Chapter 5, the details of which are reproduced below. Fig. 1 Doublet used as an example of aligning three centers of curvature The goal is to get all three centers […]

Chapter 7: Centering 2 Centers of Curvature

In the previous chapter we looked at finding a single center of curvature using any of several optical instruments. This locates a particular point in space but does not define an axis. For that, two centers of curvature separated by a finite axial distance must be located to define an axis, or line. This chapter […]

Chapter 6: Centering on a Single Center of Curvature

In this Chapter we will discuss the centering of a single center of curvature of a lens in a cell sitting on a rotary table that creates a reference axis. This discussion describes the traditional method of centering a lens in a cell. While this does not sound like an ambitious goal, the ideas presented […]

Chapter 5: Optical Axis Definition

The purpose of optical alignment is making the optical axis of an optical element, or complete system, coaxial with some other axis that is defined by other optical or mechanical components. This means we must start the discussion of optical alignment by making sure we all mean the same thing when we say the optical […]

Chapter 4: Autostigmatic Microscope

There is no better way to describe an autostigmatic microscope (ASM) than to call it an autocollimator (AC) with a microscope objective attached to the front. This converts the AC from an instrument that measures 2 angular degrees of freedom (DOF) into an instrument that measures the location of the center of curvature of a […]

Practical Optical Tabletop Alignment

Many research projects begin as tabletop assemblies of optical components to move light from a source through an interaction zone to change the character of the light and on to a detector. The quality of the signal reaching the detector depends on the optical alignment of all the components between the source and detector. The […]

Chapter 3: Classical Optical Alignment Instruments

Fig. 1 A simple collimator with a point source of illumination. An illuminated target in the same plane could serve as the source. Collimators are used as a light source for testing camera lenses on a nodal slide optical bench. The collimator simulates a point source, or in astronomical terms, a star, at infinity. For lens […]

Chapter 2: Three Methods of Alignment

In the Introduction to this series of articles on optical alignment, I said there were three basic methods of alignment. This article presents my thoughts on these methods. My approach may be a bit unconventional, but I hope this way of beginning makes the whole idea of alignment easier to understand. To illustrate the three […]

Chapter 1: Introduction

Introduction to a Series of Articles on Optical Alignment For some time, I have been encouraged to write a book about optical alignment. There have been several half-hearted attempts at beginning, but it never seemed there was enough to talk about and I kept finding new ideas about alignment. I didn’t want the book to […]
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