Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

16 - Mirror Systems


An important class of optical systems are those that use mirrors. For a mirror, the ray angle of incidence equals the ray angle of reflection, and there is no light dispersion. Using mirrors for imaging has the advantages of allowing for large element diameters, no intrinsic chromatic aberrations, lesser surface curvature for a given optical power, and potential compactness as the beam of light can be folded. The disadvantages are a central obscuration, more sensitivity to surface errors, the need to include baffles to control stray light, and sometimes fewer degrees of freedom to control aberration. Mirror systems, however, use aspheric surfaces to help control aberration. Lenses can be used in conjunction with mirrors to enhance performance. Optical systems that use both mirrors and lenses are known as catadioptric. This chapter discusses some basic mirror systems. The discussion uses aberration coefficients to determine primary aberrations and to find solutions that can later be optimized with real ray tracing.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Baker, J. G.On improving the effectiveness of large telescopes,” IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, AES-5(2) (1969), 261–71.
Brueggemann, H. P. Conic Mirrors (London: The Focal Press, 1968).
Korsch, Dietrich. Reflective Optics (San Diego: Academic Press Inc., 1991).
Offner, A.New concepts in projection mask aligners,” Optical Engineering, 14(2) (1975), 142130.
Paul, Maurice. “Systèmes correcteurs pour réflecteurs astronomiques,” Revue d’Optique Theorique et Instrumentale, 14(5) (1935), 169202.
Sasián, J.Flat-field, anastigmatic, four-mirror optical system for large telescopes,” Optical Engineering, 26(12) (1987), 1197–99.
Schwarzschild, K.Untersuchungen zur geometrischen Optik II,” Astronomische Mittheilungen der Koeniglichen Sternwarte zu Gottingen, 10 (1905), 327.
Shafer, David R.Anastigmatic two-mirror telescopes: some new types,Applied Optics, 16 (1977), 1178–80.
Stacy, J. E., Meinel, A. B., Meinel, M. P.Upgrading telescopes by active wavefront pupil correction,” in 1995 International Lens Design Conference, Proceedings of SPIE, 554 (1986), 186–90.
Wilson, R. N. Reflective Telescope Optics I (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1996).