We discuss the findings of a recent optical design study into layered polymeric gradient index lenses (known as L-GRIN). A range of GRIN singlet lenses were designed for various aperture and field-of-view configurations. Their optical performance was compared to polymer diffractive lenses and glass-cemented doublets (both spherical and aspheric) designed to the same specification. We find that diamond-turned polymer GRIN lenses offer comparable performance to achromatic doublets and polymer diffractive hybrid elements over a significant aperture and field-of-view range. We also find that the correction potential of GRIN solutions is substantially increased when the bulk GRIN Abbé value (V10) is negative, the GRIN distribution is radial, or the index range (ΔN) of the GRIN is increased significantly.
The authors would like to acknowledge Qioptiq and Polymerplus for permission to publish this work.
Statement of author contributions: Andrew Boyd as primary author wrote this manuscript. He also generated the optical designs included in this paper. Michael Ponting and Howard Fein provided the required refractive index data with which the said optical designs were completed. They also provided information on the L-GRIN process and its limitations.
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