Published: 2021-04-18 | Category: [»] Optics.

In [»] part #2 of the series I said that any system made exclusively of thin-lenses and air gaps can be described by three quantities only: the effective focal length (EFFL), the back focal length (BFL) and the front focal length (FFL). The ABCD matrix representation of such lens systems was proven to be In theory, any thin-lens system with 3 degrees of freedom should therefore be enough to be decomposed in the here-above matrix. Although it is not the only possible solution, a compact representation is the air-spaced doublet made with two lenses of focal length f1 and f2 separated by a distance L. Its matrix representation is and we therefore have the following relationships which solves to This obviously imposes the constrains Note that if we find which therefore reduces to a single thin-lens of focal-length EFFL.

Also, since negative lengths do not make sense, we would like to restrict the solutions to L>0 which impose the condition for positive EFFL and for negative EFFL (more on this below).

Also, in some cases you might want to specify the air gap between the two lenses instead of either the BFL, FFL or EFFL. In this case you can use one of the three following relations Note that the solution exists only when in case either the FFL or BFL is negative and the other one positive.

Similarly, in case you would like to specify a telecentric system with the aperture stop located at the front focal point, the total track T=L+FFL of the lens might be of interest. Converting the total track to other values is given using the set of equations Finally, it may also be interesting to get direct expressions for the BFL, FFL and EFFL of a given system to study its tolerance. The expressions are derived from the same quantities: The sensitivity for a change in distance L is obtained by differentiating the equations Similarly, the sensitivity for a change in focal f1 gives And for f2 The total expected error for each quantity (EFFL, BFL and FFL) is therefore Note that I considered here each source of error as an independent statistical variable and therefore summed the variances of the different equations. I will have the occasion to come back on this in a later post when we talk about tolerances in optical systems.

For instance, the system that has BFL=300 mm, FFL=40 mm and EFFL=135 mm consists of two thin lenses of focal lengths -37.7 mm and 65.5 mm separated by a distance of 46.1 mm. With a positioning tolerance of 50 µm and a tolerance of 1% on the focal lengths, we expect the final EFFL to be 135±6.3 mm, the final BFL to be 300±14.6 mm and the final FFL to be 40±2.8 mm. This is a relatively large error set when you compare to the 1% tolerance on the focal lengths! Either we can live with them or we will need some form of alignment procedure. The system is represented in Figure 1.