In this article we discuss different types of lenses, what separates the lenses from one another and what lenses suit which applications.
Types of simple lenses
There are all types of lenses. The image as shown here shown multiple variations of simple lens designs. For this part of the article we will delve into the plano-convex lens and the plano-concave lens.
A plano-convex lens is flat on one side and has a curvature on the other side. This type of lens will converge a light beam. Therefore this lens is also known as a converging lens. Plano-convex lenses have a positive focal length and these lenses are used for illumination applications where light needs to be collimated. They are used for all kinds of applications, ranging from spectacles to illumination.
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If a lens is biconcave or plano-concave, a collimated beam of light passing through the lens is diverged and spread out. Therefore this type of lens is known as a diverging lens. Concave lenses can be used for light projection or beam expansion. These lens types have a negative focal length. Applications of the concave lenses include telescopes and binoculars, as they can be used to magnify objects.
If you want to create your tailor-made plano-concave lens, please check out our online tooling.
A convex-concave lens can be either positive or negative, depending on the relative curvature of the two surfaces. A negative meniscus lens is thinner at the centre than at the periphery. A positive meniscus lens has a steeper convex surface and is thicker at the centre.
A lens with two surfaces of equal curvature would have zero optical power, meaning it would not diverge or converge light that passes through.
Other types of lenses
Besides the above mentioned lens types there are many more different types of lenses.
- Cylindrical lenses: They have a curvature in one direction and as such are used to focus light into a line.
- Fresnel lenses: This lens type has an optical surface broken up into narrow rings, allowing the lens to be much thinner and lighter than conventional lenses.
- Lenticular lenses: This lens type has arrays of micro lenses. These lenses are used in lenticular printing to create images that have the illusion of depth or movement, when viewed from different angles.
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