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Designing coupled free-form surfaces

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Abstract

The problem of designing optical systems that contain free-form surfaces is a challenging one, even in the case of designing a single surface. Here we present a method for the coupled design of two free-form reflective surfaces that will have a prescribed distortion. On one hand, the method can be described using traditional vectors and matrices, which we do, but it is motivated by viewing the problem in the language of distributions from differential geometry and makes use of the exterior differential systems, which we relegate to an appendix. Example applications are given to the design of a mirror pair that increases the field of view of an observer, a similar mirror pair that also rotates the observer's view, and a pair of mirrors that give the observer a traditional panoramic strip view of the scene.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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Equations (21)

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