Fresnel lenses consist of a series of concentric grooves etched into plastic. Their thin, lightweight construction, availability in small as well as large sizes, and excellent light gathering ability make them useful in a variety of applications. Fresnel lenses are most often used in light gathering applications, such as condenser systems or emitter/detector setups. They can also be used as magnifiers or projection lenses in illumination systems, and image formulation.
A Fresnel (pronounced fray-NEL) lens replaces the curved surface of a conventional optical lens with a series of concentric grooves. These contours act as individual refracting surfaces, bending parallel light rays to a common focal length (Figure 1). As a result, a Fresnel lens, while physically narrow in profile, is capable of focusing light similar to a conventional optical lens but has several advantages over its thicker counterpart.
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