Things to know about optical components

Optical component is a general term for the components of optical equipment and devices that make use of the properties of light. They are also called optical elements.

Types of optical components

The basic types of optical components are lenses, mirrors, filters and prisms.

A lens is an optical component that focuses or diverges light. They come in a variety of shapes with different functions and can be classified as spherical lenses, aspherical lenses, refractive index lenses or special shaped lenses such as rod lenses. Thin sheet Fresnel lenses, lenticular lenses and fly-eye lenses are also used in a wide range of applications.

Mirrors are optical components that reflect light and can be divided into flat mirrors, spherical mirrors and free-form mirrors. In addition to their shape, their performance, such as reflectance, varies greatly depending on the type of coating, such as metal or derivative film.

Filters are optical components that transmit only certain types of light by reflecting or absorbing it. There are ND filters to adjust the amount of light, coloured glass filters to absorb certain wavelengths, and polarising filters to transmit only certain polarised light.

A prism is an optical component that reflects or disperses light by wavelength, such as a 45° right angle prism, wedge prism, corner cube or retro-reflector. Prisms are sometimes used as replacements for lenses and mirrors, as they also have these functions.

Other typical optical components include beamsplitters, polarisers, light modulators and diffraction gratings.

Applications of optical components

Optical components are used in a wide range of optical applications. There are a number of optical components with application-specific names, such as LED lenses and CCTV lenses. There are also a number of optical components with different application names, such as LED and CCTV lenses.

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