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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Design Software Helps You Save Time and Money with Off-the-Shelf Optical Components

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Off-the-shelf components have many advantages over custom components. The first and most obvious is economy of scale. Also, off-the-shelf optics can be shipped more quickly than custom lenses.

Designing with off-the-shelf components isnít quite the same, however, as designing with custom optics. With custom optics, you can specify exactly what nominal values you need and what tolerance limits you can accept. With off-the-shelf optics, you must do more work to assure that existing components with existing tolerances will do the job.

Optical designers have software available that drastically reduces the mathematical drudgery involved. Edmund Optics helped develop OLIVE (Optical Layout Including Video Elements) specifically to help novice and professional optical engineers integrate real lenses into their applications using the iterative optical design process.

In the iterative design process, you start with a best guess as to values for all the parameters, then experiment with variations in an attempt to improve the optical systemís overall performance.

Step 1: Develop an application requirements list. The application requirements list is your wish list for what you want the finished system to do, and how it needs to perform.

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