Redirected from Optical aberration
Aberrations may be divided in two classes: chromatic (Gr. oroma, colour) aberrations, caused by the composite nature of the light generally applied (e.g. white light), which is dispersed by refraction, and monochromatic (Gr. monos, one) aberrations produced without dispersion. Consequently the monochromatic class includes the aberrations at reflecting surfaces of any coloured light, and at refracting surfaces of monochromatic or light of single wave length.
This, and related general questions, have been treated  besides the abovementioned authors  by M. Thiesen (Berlin. Akad. Sitzber., 1890, xxxv. 799; Berlin. Phys. Ges. Verh., 1892) and H. Bruns (Leipzig. Math. Phys. Ber., 1895, xxi. 325) by means of Sir W. R. Hamilton's characteristic function (Irish Acad. Trans., Theory of Systems of Rays, 1828, et seq.). Reference may also be made to the treatise of CzapskiEppenstein, pp. 155161.
A review of the simplest cases of aberration will now be given.
The largest opening of the pencils, which take part in the reproduction of O, i.e. the angle u, is generally determined by the margin of one of the lenses or by a hole in a thin plate placed between, before, or behind the lenses of the system. This hole is termed the stop or diaphragm; Abbe used the term aperture stop for both the hole and the limiting margin of the lens. The component S1 of the system, situated between the aperture stop and the object O, projects an image of the diaphragm, termed by Abbe the entrance pupil; the exit pupil is the image formed by the component S2, which is placed behind the aperture stop. All rays which issue from O and pass through the aperture stop also pass through the entrance and exit pupils, since these are images of the aperture stop. Since the maximum aperture of the pencils issuing from O is the angle u subtended by the entrance pupil at this point, the magnitude of the aberration will be determined by the position and diameter of the entrance pupil. If the system be entirely behind the aperture stop, then this is itself the entrance pupil (front stop); if entirely in front, it is the exit pupil (back stop).
If the object point be infinitely distant, all rays received by the first member of the system are parallel, and their intersections, after traversing the system, vary according to their perpendicular height of incidence, i.e. their distance from the axis. This distance replaces the angle u in the preceding considerations; and the aperture, i.e. the radius of the entrance pupil, is its maximum value.
Sir Isaac Newron was probably the discoverer of astigmation; the position of the astigmatic image lines was determined by Thomas Young (A Course of Lectures on Natural Philosophy, 1807); and the theory was developed by A. Gullstrand (Skand. Arch. f. Physiol., 1890, 2, p. 269; Allgemeine Theorie der monochromat. Aberrationen, etc., Upsala, 1900; Arch. f. Ophth., 1901, 53, pp. 2, 185). A bibliography by P. Culmann is given in M. von Rohr's Die Bilderzeugung in opitschen Instrumenten (Berlin, 1904).
A ray proceeding from an object point O (fig. 9) can be defined by the coordinates (x, e). Of this point O in an object plane I, at right angles to the axis, and two other coordinates (x, y), the point in which the ray intersects the entrance pupil, i.e. the plane II. Similarly the corresponding image ray may be defined by the points (x', e'), and (x', y'), in the planes I' and II'. The origins of these four plane coordinate systems may be collinear with the axis of the optical system; and the corresponding axes may be parallel. Each of the four coordinates x', e', x', y' are functions of x, e, x, y; and if it be assumed that the field of view and the aperture be infinitely small, then x, e, x, y are of the same order of infinitesimals; consequently by expanding x', e', x', y' in ascending powers of x, e, x, y, series are obtained in which it is only necessary to consider the lowest powers. It is readily seen that if the optical system be symmetrical, the orqins of the coordinate systems collinear with the optical axis and the corresponding axes parallel, then by changing the signs of x, e, x, y, the values x', e', x', y' must likewise change their sign, but retain their arithmetical values; this means that the series are restricted to odd powers of the unmarked variables.
The nature of the reproduction consists in the rays proceeding from a point O being united in another point O'; in general, this will not be the case, for x', e' vary if x, e be constant, but x, y variable. It may be assumed that the planes I' and II' are drawn where the images of the planes I and II are formed by rays near the axis by the ordinary Gaussian rules; and by an extension of these rules, not, however, corresponding to reality, the Gauss image point O'0, with coordinates x'0, e'0, of the point O at some distance from the axis could be constructed. Writing Dx'=x'x'0 and De'=e'e'0, then Dx' and De' are the aberrations belonging to x, e and x, y, and are functions of these magnitudes which, when expanded in series, contain only odd powers, for the same reasons as given above. On account of the aberrations of all rays which pass through O, a patch of light, depending in size on the lowest powers of x, e, x, y which the aberrations contain, will be formed in the plane I'. These degrees, named by (J. Petzval (Bericht uber die Ergebnisse einiger dioptrischer Untersuchungen, Buda Pesth, 1843; Akad. Sitzber., Wien, 1857, vols. xxiv. xxvi.) the numerical orders of the image, are consequently only odd powers; the condition for the formation of an image of the mth order is that in the series for Dx' and De' the coefficients of the powers of the 3rd, 5th . . . (m2)th degrees must vanish. The images of the Gauss theory being of the third order, the next problem is to obtain an image of 5th order, or to make the coefficients of the powers of 3rd degree zero. This necessitates the satisfying of five equations; in other words, there are five alterations of the 3rd order, the vanishing of which produces an image of the 5th order.
The expression for these coefficients in terms of the constants of the optical system, i.e. the radii, thicknesses, refractive indices and distances between the lenses, was solved by L. Seidel (Astr. Nach., 1856, p. 289); in 1840, J. Petzval constructed his portrait objective, unexcelled even at the present day, from similar calculations, which have never been published (see M. von Rohr, Theorie und Geschichte des photographischen Objectivs, Berlin, 1899, p. 248). The theory was elaborated by S. Finterswalder (Munchen. Acad. Abhandl., 1891, 17, p. 519), who also published a posthumous paper of Seidel containing a short view of his work (München. Akad. Sitzber., 1898, 28, p. 395); a simpler form was given by A. Kerber (Beiträge zur Dioptrik, Leipzig, 18956789). A. Konig and M. von Rohr (see M. von Rohr, Die Bilderzeugung in optischen Instrumenten, pp. 317323) have represented Kerber's method, and have deduced the Seidel formulae from geometrical considerations based on the Abbe method, and have interpreted the analytical results geometrically (pp. 212316).
The aberrations can also be expressed by means of the characteristic function of the system and its differential coefficients, instead of by the radii, &c., of the lenses; these formulae are not immediately applicable, but give, however, the relation between the number of aberrations and the order. Sir William Rowan Hamilton (British Assoc. Report, 1833, p. 360) thus derived the aberrations of the third order; and in later times the method was pursued by Clerk Maxwell (Proc. London Math. Soc., 18741875; (see also the treatises of R. S. Heath and L. A. Herman), M. Thiesen (Berlin. Akad. Sitzber., 1890, 35, p. 804), H. Bruns (Leipzig. Math. Phys. Ber., 1895, 21, p. 410), and particularly successfully by K. Schwartzschild (Göttingen. Akad. Abhandl., 1905, 4, No. 1), who thus discovered the aberrations of the 5th order (of which there are nine), and possibly the shortest proof of the practical (Seidel) formulae. A. Gullstrand (vide supra, and Ann. d. Phys., 1905, 18, p. 941) founded his theory of aberrations on the differential geometry of surfaces.
The aberrations of the third order are: (1) aberration of the axis point; (2) aberration of points whose distance from the axis is very small, less than of the third order  the deviation from the sine condition and coma here fall together in one class; (3) astigmatism; (4) curvature of the field; (5) distortion.
In order to render spherical aberration and the deviation from the sine condition small throughout the whole aperture, there is given to a ray with a finite angle of aperture u* (width infinitely distant objects: with a finite height of incidence h*) the same distance of intersection, and the same sine ratio as to one neighbouring the axis (u* or h* may not be much smaller than the largest aperture U or H to be used in the system). The rays with an angle of aperture smaller than u* would not have the same distance of intersection and the same sine ratio; these deviations are called zones, and the constructor endeavours to reduce these to a minimum. The same holds for the errors depending upon the angle of the field of view, w: astigmatism, curvature of field and distortion are eliminated for a definite value, w*, zones of astigmatism, curvature of field and distortion,' attend smaller values of w. The practical optician names such systems: corrected for the angle of aperture u* (the height of incidence h*) or the angle of field of view w*. Spherical aberration and changes of the sine ratios are often represented graphically as functions of the aperture, in the same way as the deviations of two astigmatic image surfaces of the image plane of the axis point are represented as functions of the angles of the field of view.
The final form of a practical system consequently rests on compromise; enlargement of the aperture results in a diminution of the available field of view, and vice versa. The following may be regarded as typical:
If, in the first place, monochromatic aberrations be neglected  in other words, the Gaussian theory be accepted  then every reproduction is determined by the positions of the focal planes, and the magnitude of the focal lengths, or if the focal lengths, as ordinarily happens, be equal, by three constants of reproduction. These constants are determined by the data of the system (radii, thicknesses, distances, indices, &c., of the lenses); therefore their dependence on the refractive index, and consequently on the colour, are calculable (the formulae are given in CzapskiEppenstein, Grundzuge der Theorie der optischen Instrumente (1903, p. 166). The refractive indices for different wave lengths must be known for each kind of glass made use of. In this manner the conditions are maintained that any one constant of reproduction is equal for two different colours, i.e. this constant is achromatized. For example, it is possible, with one thick lens in air, to achromatize the position of a focal plane of the magnitude of the focal length. If all three constants of reproduction be achromatized, then the Gaussian image for all distances of objects is the same for the two colours, and the system is said to be in stable achromatism.
In practice it is more advantageous (after Abbe) to determine the chromatic aberration (for instance, that of the distance of intersection) for a fixed position of the object, and express it by a sum in which each component conlins the amount due to each refracting surface (see CzapskiEppenstein, op. cit. p. 170; A. Konig in M. v. Rohr's collection, Die Bilderzeugung, p. 340). In a plane containing the image point of one colour, another colour produces a disk of confusion; this is similar to the confusion caused by two zones in spherical aberration. For infinitely distant objects the radius Of the chromatic disk of confusion is proportional to the linear aperture, and independent of the focal length (vide supra, Monochromatic Aberration of the Axis Point); and since this disk becomes the less harmful with au increasing image of a given object, or with increasing focal length, it follows that the deterioration of the image is proportional to the ratio of the aperture to the focal length, i.e. the relative aperture. (This explains the gigantic focal lengths in vogue before the discovery of achromatism.)
Examples:
Newton failed to perceive the existence of media of different dispersive powers required by achromatism; consequently he constructed large reflectors instead of refractors. James Gregory and Leonhard Euler arrived at the correct view from a false conception of the achromatism of the eye; this was determined by Chester More Hall in 1728, Klingenstierna in 1754 and by Dollond in 1757, who constructed the celebrated achromatic telescopes. (See telescope.)
Glass with weaker dispersive power (greater v) is named crown glass; that with greater dispersive power, flint glass. For the construction of an achromatic collective lens (f positive) it follows, by means of equation (4), that a collective lens I. of crown glass and a dispersive lens II. of flint glass must be chosen; the latter, although the weaker, corrects the other chromatically by its greater dispersive power. For an achromatic dispersive lens the converse must be adopted. This is, at the present day, the ordinary type, e.g., of telescope objective (fig. 10); the values of the four radii must satisfy the equations (2) and (4). Two other conditions may also be postulated: one is always the elimination of the aberration on the axis; the second either the Herschel or Fraunhofer Condition, the latter being the best vide supra, Monochromatic Aberration). In practice, however, it is often more useful to avoid the second condition by making the lenses have contact, i.e. equal radii. According to P. Rudolph (Eder's Jahrb. f. Photog., 1891, 5, p. 225; 1893, 7, p. 221), cemented objectives of thin lenses permit the elimination of spherical aberration on the axis, if, as above, the collective lens has a smaller refractive index; on the other hand, they permit the elimination of astigmatism and curvature of the field, if the collective lens has a greater refractive index (this follows from the Petzval equation; see L. Seidel, Astr. Nachr., 1856, p. 289). Should the cemented system be positive, then the more powerful lens must be positive; and, according to (4), to the greater power belongs the weaker dispersive power (greater v), that is to say, clown glass; consequently the crown glass must have the greater refractive index for astigmatic and plane images. In all earlidr kinds of glass, however, the dispersive power increased with the refractive index; that is, v decreased as n increased; but some of the Jena glasses by E. Abbe and O. Schott were crown glasses of high refractive index, and achromatic systems from such crown glasses, with flint glasses of lower refractive index, are called the new achromats, and were employed by P. Rudolph in the first anastigmats (photographic objectives).
Instead of making df vanish, a certain value can be assigned to it which will produce, by the addition of the two lenses, any desired chromatic deviation, e.g. sufficient to eliminate one present in other parts of the system. If the lenses I. and II. be cemented and have the same refractive index for one colour, then its effect for that one colour is that of a lens of one piece; by such decomposition of a lens it can be made chromatic or achromatic at will, without altering its spherical effect. If its chromatic effect (df/f) be greater than that of the same lens, this being made of the more dispersive of the two glasses employed, it is termed hyperchromatic.
For two thin lenses separated by a distance D the condition for achromatism is D = v1f1+v2f2; if v1=v2 (e.g. if the lenses be made of the same glass), this reduces to D= 1/2 (f1+f2), known as the condition for oculars.
If a constant of reproduction, for instance the focal length, be made equal for two colours, then it is not the same for other colours, if two different glasses are employed. For example, the condition for achromatism (4) for two thin lenses in contact is fulfilled in only one part of the spectrum, since dn2/dn1 varies within the spectrum. This fact was first ascertained by J. Fraunhofer, who defined the colours by means of the dark lines in the solar spectrum; and showed that the ratio of the dispersion of two glasses varied about 20% from the red to the violet (the variation for glass and water is about 50%). If, therefore, for two colours, a and b, fa = fb = f, then for a third colour, c, the focal length is different, viz. if c lie between a and b, then fc<f, and vice versa; these algebraic results follow from the fact that towards the red the dispersion of the positive crown glass preponderates, towards the violet that of the negative flint. These chromatic errors of systems, which are achromatic for two colours, are called the secondary spectrum, and depend upon the aperture and focal length in the same manner as the primary chromatid errors do.
In fig. 11, taken from M. von Rohr,s Theorie und Geschichte des photographischen Objectivs, the abscissae are focal lengths, and the ordinates wavelengths; of the latter the Fraunhofer lines used are
A' C D Green Hg. F G' Violet Hg. 767.7 656.3 589.3 546.1 486.2 454.1 405.1 mm,
and the focal lengths are made equal for the lines C and F. In the neighbourhood of 550 mm the tangent to the curve is parallel to the axis of wavelengths; and the focal length varies least over a fairly large range of colour, therefore in this neighbourhood the colour union is at its best. Moreover, this region of the spectrum is that which appears brightest to the human eye, and consequently this curve of the secondary on spectrum, obtained by making fc = fF, is, according to the experiments of Sir G. G. Stokes (Proc. Roy. Soc., 1878), the most suitable for visual instruments (optical achromatism,'). In a similar manner, for systems used in photography, the vertex of the colour curve must be placed in the position of the maximum sensibility of the plates; this is generally supposed to be at G'; and to accomplish this the F and violet mercury lines are united. This artifice is specially adopted in objectives for astronomical photography (pure actinic achromatism). For ordinary photography, however, there is this disadvantage: the image on the focussingscreen and the correct adjustment of the photographic sensitive plate are not in register; in astronomical photography this difference is constant, but in other kinds it depends on the distance of the objects. On this account the lines D and G' are united for ordinary photographic objectives; the optical as well as the actinic image is chromatically inferior, but both lie in the same place; and consequently the best correction lies in F (this is known as the actinic correction or freedom from chemical focus).
Should there be in two lenses in contact the same focal lengths for three colours a, b, and c, i.e. fa = fb = fc = f, then the relative partial dispersion (ncnb) (nanb) must be equal for the two kinds of glass employed. This follows by considering equation (4) for the two pairs of colours ac and bc. Until recently no glasses were known with a proportionap degree of absorption; but R. Blair (Trans. Edin. Soc., 1791, 3, p. 3), P. Barlow, and F. S. Archer overcame the difficulty by constructing fluid lenses between glass walls. Fraunhofer prepared glasses which reduced the secondary spectrum; but permanent success was only assured on the introduction of the Jena glasses by E. Abbe and O. Schott. In using glasses not having proportional dispersion, the deviation of a third colour can be eliminated by two lenses, if an interval be allowed between them; or by three lenses in contact, which may not all consist of the old glasses. In uniting three colours an achromatism of a higher order is derived; there is yet a residual tertiary spectrum, but it can always be neglected.
The Gaussian theory is only an approximation; monochromatic or spherical aberrations still occur, which will be different for different colours; and should they be compensated for one colour, the image of another colour would prove disturbing. The most important is the chromatic difference of aberration of the axis point, which is still present to disturb the image, after paraxial rays of different colours are united by an appropriate combination of glasses. If a collective system be corrected for the axis point for a definite wavelength, then, on account of the greater dispersion in the negative components  the flint glasses,  overcorrection will arise for the shorter wavelengths (this being the error of the negative components), and undercorrection for the longer wavelengths (the error of crown glass lenses preponderating in the red). This error was treated by Jean le Rond d'Alembert, and, in special detail, by C. F. Gauss. It increases rapidly with the aperture, and is more important with medium apertures than the secondary spectrum of paraxial rays; consequently, spherical aberration must be elliminated for two colours, and if this be impossible, then it must be eliminated for those particular wavelengths which are most effectual for the instrument in question (a graphical representation of this error is given in M. von Rohr, Theorie und Geschichte des photographischen Objectivs).
The condition for the reproduction of a surface element in the place of a sharply reproduced point  the constant of the sine relationship must also be fulfilled with large apertures for several colours. E. Abbe succeeded in computing microscope objectives free from error of the axis point and satisfying the sine condition for several colours, which therefore, according to his definition, were aplanatic for several colours; such systems he termed apochromatic[?]. While, however, the magnification of the individual zones is the same, it is not the same for red as for blue; and there is a chromatic difference of magnification. This is produced in the same amount, but in the opposite sense, by the oculars, which ate used with these objectives (compensating oculars), so that it is eliminated in the image of the whole microscope. The best telescope objectives, and photographic objectives intended for threecolour work, are also apochromatic, even if they do not possess quite the same quality of correction as microscope objectives do. The chromatic differences of other errors of reproduction have seldom practical importances.

^{1} The investigations of E. Abbe on geometrical optics, originally published only in his university lectures, were first compiled by S. Czapski in 1893. See below, Authorities.
From 1911 EB, further rework required, illustations needed.
Search Encyclopedia

Featured Article
