telescopeѲptics.net          ▪▪▪▪                                             CONTENTS
 

9.2. Refracting telescope objectives: Apo and semi-apo        9.3. Designing doublet achromat
 

9.2.1. SEMI-APO AND APO EXAMPLES

Within constraints given on previous page, a number of apochromatic and some viable semi-apochromatic glass combinations are possible. More than a few have been, at some point in time, used for commercial refracting telescopes. Following table lists examples of such objectives, from those with small reduction in secondary spectrum, to those fulfilling the formal apochromatic condition. All achromats in comparison are assumed with near-equal wavefront error in F and C (Δf  is the secondary spectrum in units of that in a comparable achromat, and SP is the polychromatic Strehl for the 440-670nm spectral range, photopic sensitivity; WFE=wavefront error). Somewhat arbitrarily, objective's mode of correction is classified based on its secondary spectrum vs. that in the standard achromat as enhanced achromat (EA) if less than two-fold reduced, semi-apochromat (SA) if two-fold to nine-fold reduced reduced, and apochromat (A) if reduced by tenfold or more. According to its polychromatic Strehl, objectives range from sensibly perfect (SP>0.95) to fair (0.7<SP<0.8) depending on two variables: their mode of correction, and their relative aperture (glass dispersion: "normal" i.e. common, partly abnormal, "abnormal" i.e. very low dispersion).
 
# D
(mm)
f GLASS
RADII / THICKNESS // SEPARATION (mm)
Δf1 RMS WFE
(RATIO v. ACHR)
SP
(ACHR)
Element 1 Element 2 Element 3 e (F+C)/2 g r
1 100 12 BAK1
789, -267/11//0.6
BASF52
-277, -1430/6
- .79
EA
.007 .22
(.76)
1.2
(.85)
.36
(.82)
.86
(.81)
2 150 10 BK7
910, -330/16//1
KZFSN4
-339.5, -1818/9
- .75
EA
.017 .37
(.71)
2
(.78)
.69
(.74)
.75
(.71)
3 100 15 BK7
880, -187.3/11//0.15
KZFN2
-188, -3900/7
- .73
EA
.003 .18
(.78)
.88
(.78)
.32
(.77)
.89
(.84)
4 150 15 BALF5
1494, -372/17//0.7
BASF52
-391, -1800/9
- .72
EA
.017 .25
(.73)
1.35
(.80)
.40
(.64)
.83
(.77)
5 150 12 BAK1
1000, -310.4/17//2.1
KZFSN4
-31, -6630/9
- .47
EA
.017 .20
(.46)
1.26
(.59)
.28
(.36)
.86
(.73)
62 150 6.5 BAK1
484, -1440/12
KZFSN4
-1440, 203.8/8
BAK1
203.8, -7300/16
.47
EA
.020 .37
(.37)
2.3
(.45)
.54
(.39)
.76
(.61)
72 150 10 BK7
1862, -365.4/14
KZFS1
-365.4, 365.4/6
BAFN10
365, -1343/14
.15
SA
.018 .07
(.13)
.56
(.22)
.084
(.09)
.94
(.71)
82 150 8 BAK1
1711, -235/16
KZFSN4
-235, 277/9
BAFN10
277, -1430/14
.13
SA
.018 .10
(.24)
.85
(.40)
.10
(.13)
.87
(.67)
9 150 15 BALF4
603, -244.25/18///0.09
KZFN2
-243.75, 166.6/6.2//6.4
K7
172.4, 927.7/16
.1
A
.015 .039
(.11)
.52
(.31)
.021
(.034)
.954
(.77
)
10 127 9 KF3
551, 192/8//0.15
FK01
192.2, -13600/12
- .22
SA
.006 .10
(.21)
.62
(.26)
.18
(.20)
.93
(.72)
113 100 7 FK51
390, -127/15//0.6
ZKN7
-127, -1464/7
- .01
A
.046 .10
(.20)
.24
(.10)
.13
(.15)
.83
(.71)
ZKN7
348, 100.5/6//0.6
FK51
100.5, -2727/15.5
  .059 .10
(.20)
.23
(.10)
.11
(.13)
.78
(.71)
123 100 7 FPL53
384, -156/14//0.37
ZKN7
-159, -750/6
- .01
A
.024 .063
(.13)
.15
(.06)
.067
(.08)
.93
(.71)
ZKN7
278, 117.1/6.//0.46
FPL53
115.7, -3080/14
- .029 .066
(.13)
.16
(.06)
.062
(.07)
.92
(.71)
13 100 7 ZKN7
386, 204/7
FK51
204, -178/15
ZKN7
-170, -1500
.01
A
.010 .050
(.10)
.11
(.05)
.077
(.09)
.97
(.71)
143 100 7 CaF2
379, -166/13//0.75
K5
-169.7, 699//6
- .07
A
.022 .073
(.15)
.15
(.06)
.078
(.09)
.93
(.71)
K5
264, 121.2/6//0.22
CaF2
119.3, -3544/13
- .022 .074
(.15)
.155
(.06)
.081
(.09)
.92
(.71)
15 100 10 ZKN7
396, 165.3/6//0.4
FPL53
163, -4400/14
- .01
A
.005 .025
(.07)
.06
(.035)
.020
(.033)
.99
(.78)
16 100 10 K5
378, 172/6//0.9
CaF2
169.3, -5060/13
- .07
A
.004 .034
(.1)
.07
(.04)
.041
(.066)
.984
(.78)
172 140 7 K10
479, 277/12
FPL53
277, -359/21
BK7
-359, -1252/12
.124
A
.011 .052
(.075)
.33
(.1)
.066
(.054)
.955
(.64)
182 140 7 ZKN7
420, 222/10
FPL53
222, -486/19
ZKN7
-486, -1880/10
.01
A
.013 .040
(.058)
.17
(.05)
.068
(.056)
.970
(.64)
192 140 7 K7
448, 268/10
CaF2
268, -360/21
K7
-360, -1300/10
.03
A
.012 .043
(.062)
.16
(.047)
.045
(.037)
.965
(.64)
20 130 7.7 FPL53
2380, -262.2/12///22.9
BSL7
-239.8, 2580/7//1
FPL53
444, -926/11
.025
A
.003 .029
(.048)
.029
(.017)
.065
(.032)
.987
(.64)
21 140 7 ZKN7  580,  293/9//1
FPL53 293, 2500/13//920
920mm
interspace
FPL53 537, -227.7/12// 1
ZKN7
-232.1, -1170/7
.01
A
.003 .033
(.048)
.06
(.017)
.027
(.032)
.983
(.64)
1Measured as the longitudinal separation between the common C/F focus and best e-line focus, in units of that in a comparable standard achromat (not a reliable indicator of chromatic correction in the presence of significant spherochromatism)
2Triplets with two pairs of conforming inner radii and zero lens separation can be assumed to be oiled triplets; for simplicity, oil medium is omitted (it generally has a minor effect)
3Top specs are for the ED glass element (the positive one) in front, bottom for ED glass in rear; in general, the latter requires more strongly curved inner radii, with more spherochromatism
4Approximately; based on the offsetting RDP differentials for K10 and BK7 vs. FPL53, the former nearly four times greater, but the latter in a nearly twice stronger lens, resulting in an effective RPD differential of roughly twice that of BK7

TABLE 12: Examples of lens objectives with enhanced  chromatic correction vs. standard doublet achromat, starting with combinations of normal and partly abnormal glasses, toward objectives using abnormal (very low dispersion) glasses:
 #1, 2, 3, 4 - enhanced doublet achromats with one somewhat abnormal glass; #5 - further enhanced doublet achromat, with less than half the secondary spectrum of the standard achromat (#3 is the Zeiss AS objective), #6 - triplet achromat with the same glasses as previous, having only slightly more of higher-order spherical in the optimized wavelength (it would have made the doublet useless at this f-ratio); #7 - triplet using one of glass combinations in the early AstroPhysics triplets, approaching 0.95 Strehl at
/10; #8 - triplet with similar correction level at /8; note how much use of different glass for the second, positive element, with an offsetting RPD differential versus first element, further reduces secondary spectrum
#9
- an early triplet form (Zeiss B type), modification of the Taylor's photo-visual triplet; #10 - older Meade doublet apo;
 #11, 12 - two apo doublets with similar reduction in secondary spectrum, but with significant variation in the level of spherochromatism due to their respective Abbe differentials, #13 - same glasses as in #11, but in a triplet form, greatly reduce spherochromatism; #14 - calcium fluorite doublet at the same focal ratio as #11-13; #15 and #16 - doublets with the same glasses as #12 and #14, respectively, become practically perfect at
/10; #17 - triplet with glass combination used in TEC's 140 /7 apo; #18, 19 - triplets with identical aperture/-ratio and different glass combinations; #20 - Takahashi TOA type triplet  #21 - same aperture/-ratio objective with identical glasses as #18 triplet in the Petzval arrangement

Some of the above objectives do not have the optimum, even acceptable relative aperture if the principal criteria is highest level of chromatic correction. The purpose is to illustrate the limitations of particular type of objectives. Numerical data is graphically illustrated by the respective longitudinal aberration (LA) plots and ray spot plots (FIG. 149; note that the black circle is the Airy disc in the e-line, which is of constant size for any given objective; variation in its size is due to the need to fit blurs of often very different sizes together). Most of LA graphs for doublets and fast triplets show mixture of 6th and 4th order spherical aberration.



FIGURE 149: Secondary spectrum and spherochromatism in the objectives from Table . While formally defined as the longitudinal separation between the common red blue (F/C) focus and green (e-line), all paraxial (here, on the horizontal scale; note that the size of scale varies), actual location of these foci is shifted due to the presence of spherochromatism. In general, the paraxial blue focus is shifted closer, and the red focus about as much farther away from where that common focus would  have occurred. Obviously, if  they would be nearly coinciding, the wavefront error would have been significantly greater in the shorter wavelength, more so due to it being overcorrected (when reading these plots, it is important to keep in mind that all the zones at the aperture radius - represented as the vertical scale - focus at the horizontal scale; the foci are merely projected up to the zonal height, forming the
longitudinal aberration plot).
The magnitude of F/C paraxial separation for given level of spherical aberration is somewhat arbitrary; it is often such that F and C-line ray spots are nearly equal in size. Since in that case the wavefront error is greater in the F - not the best mode considering that eye sensitivity is higher in the blue line, even in the photopic mode, and more so toward mesopic mode - refracting objective here are generally brought to a near equal wavefront error in F and C.
Plots for objectives #1-5 show F and C lines clearly separated from the e-line, indicating the presence of secondary spectrum (these five objectives only show these three lines, since r and , particularly, g, are far enough to squeeze F, C and e too close together on this image scale). Secondary spectrum is significantly reduced in #6, a fast triplet using somewhat abnormal short flint for its central element (typically for short flint combinations, the violet end runs away). It is still more reduced in #7, a triplet combo of the early NASA Christen triplet combo; #8, also an Astrophysics' triplet combo from the 1980s, uses another short flint, originally made for NASA (reportedly, a bit better than Schott's KZFSN4 available today only as a special melt); it does form a typical apo C/F/e crossing  at about 76% zone, but some residual secondary spectrum is still evident, since F and C paraxial foci are at unequal separation from paraxial e focus (by slightly strengthening the negative power, F could be brought to coincide with C but, since C is farther away from e than F, this common focus would be be falling somewhat behind e). In #9, an early Zeiss triplet, secondary spectrum is nearly eliminated, but higher order spherical creeps in due to the strong surface radii, even at
/15. A more recent doublet, the older Meade "apo" at #10, with Hikari's FK01 ED glass (near-equivalent to Ohara FPL51), still has some relatively significant secondary spectrum (at 127mm /9 its is still quite close to 0.95 visual polychromatic Strehl). At #11, very similar Schott FK51 ED glass, in combination with a common crown, has secondary spectrum all but eliminated, but clearly shows spherochromatism at /7 (both combinations, with the ED first, and following the crown, are shown). Using ED with higher Abbe number (i.e. lower dispersion), like FPL53 (#12), or calcium fluoride (#14), reduces spherochromatism, and even more does using the triplet form (#13). Spherochromatism with these same glasses in a doublet form is, as expected, significantly reduced at slower -ratios (#15, 16). Larger fast objectives require triplet form for good chromatic correction: #17 shows plots for TEC 140mm f/7 triplet combination optimized for visual mode (the actual instrument is said to have 0.92 polychromatic Strehl, which implies that the violet is being pulled closer, at the expense of the optimum F/C correction, to improve its photo/CCD performance). If such triplet was made with ZKN7 for the 1st and 3rd element (at a small increase in the glass cost), secondary spectrum is practically eliminated, but the overall gain is relatively small, because it is spherochromatism, i.e. spherical aberration in non-optimized wavelengths that causes most of the chromatic error (#18).
For the same reason, replacing FPL53 with fluorite and ZKN7 with one of fluorite's matching crowns (K7), produces nearly identical correction (#19). With somewhat wider air gap between the front and second lens element, it is possible to practically eliminate spherochromatism (#20, Takahashi TOA type triplet). Using the same glasses as in #18 in a 2-doublet Petzval arrangement reduces spherochromatism by reducing the lower-order residuals due to index variations and eliminating higher-order spherical, but it is still present (#21). However, the added bonus of the Petzval is the flattened image surface (which is curved to about 35-40% of the focal length in doublets and triplets); residual astigmatism left in for that purpose is still less than half the astigmatism of the triplets

ASPHERIZING FOR REDUCTION OF HIGHER-ORDER SPHERICAL IN LENS OBJECTIVES

All above systems utilize only spherical surfaces. While it is a plus with respect to ease of fabrication, it is also a limitation with respect to correction of higher (6th) order spherical aberration (secondary astigmatism is generally negligible, and secondary coma low in comparison, easy to reduce to negligible by balancing it with the primary coma). Aspherizing a surface does not appreciably change the ray height on it, but it does change surface profile, bringing it either closer or farther away (depending on the sign of the aspheric) from the 6th order surface approximation (FIG. 37). When significant, higher-order spherical affects not only the level of correction in the optimized wavelength, but also adds to spherochromatism (since it changes surface profile, it also affects longitudinal chromatism, and may require slight adjustment in the radii power balance). Removing 6th order spherical by way of aspherizing also tends to lessen the violet 4th order error, producing better color balance. The effect is generally small, and may be marginally significant in oiled objectives, due to the stronger aspherization required to remove 6th order spherical aberration on an oiled surface.
The manner in which aspherization affects spherochromatism is somewhat different in triplets vs. doublets.
In doublets, the typical form of secondary spherical is undercorrection. With it uncorrected, and with primary spherical corrected in the optimized wavelength, a doublet is more undercorrected in the red (which is undercorrected in primary spherical for zero primary spherical in optimized wavelength, thus the two aberrations add up), while to some extent balanced in the blue (which is overcorrected for zero primary spherical in optimized wavelength, hence opposite in sign to that of secondary spherical). When this residual secondary spherical is balanced with primary spherical of opposite sign (overcorrected) by a slight adjustment in one of the inner radii, it can be minimized only in one, optimized wavelengths, while added primary overcorrection reduces error in the red (tending to produce predominantly higher order spherical, since added primary overcorrection partly offsets its primary undercorrection component) and increases it in the blue/violet, by enlarging its primary overcorrection component. Taking as an example the FPL53/ZKN7 doublet (#12), those two stages are shown as first and second from left, respectively. Since most of the lens' secondary spherical is generated by the slight excess on the second vs. third surface, it can be eliminated by slightly aspherizing either of the

two radii (prolate ellipsoid for the second, and oblate for the third radius). To compensate for the induced primary spherical imbalance, one of the other two surfaces, with the relatively low secondary-to-primary aberration ratio, needs to be aspherized. The result is shown on the third plot. Removing secondary spherical by aspherizing had no appreciable effect on spherochromatism. The only significant change is in the correction level in the optimized wavelength, but since it is sufficiently low with all surfaces spherical, aspherization is not worth the extra cost. Even if the 8TH order residual (about 0.05 wave RMS, minimized to 0.012 wave by balancing it with the opposite in sign primary spherical) is removed by putting a Schmidt-type aspheric on one of the surfaces, the overall correction is not significantly better.
In the typical triplet, the residual secondary spherical is most often overcorrected, while for cancelled primary spherical in the optimized wavelength, the red and blue/violet are, like with the doublet, undercorrected and overcorrected in the primary spherical, respectively. Hence balancing this residual overcorrected secondary spherical by adding primary spherical of opposite sign now lessens the error in the red, producing a partially balanced 6th.4th order aberration, while increasing it in the blue/violet. Since the latter typically already has significantly larger error, this creates more of a red vs. blue/violet imbalance than in the doublet. Thus lessening this imbalance through removing the lens' secondary spherical residual by aspherizing one or two surfaces will generally produce more of a beneficial effect on overall correction than in a doublet. The difference may and may not be significant.
It can be illustrated on the ZKN7/FPL53/ZKN7 triplet (#18). While triplets with equal pairs of inner radii are usually intended for oil-type lens, they were given above as a cemented objective, without spacing and oil specs, because small spacing of this type (usually a small fraction of a mm), with or without oil, does not appreciably change lens' output (in this particular case it only added about 1/20 wave P-V of primary spherical, which can be corrected by a slight bending of the inner two radii pairs, to 220/496mm). That's because the aberrations at the inner four radii, which are dominant, tend to change evenly, in proportion. However, the conics that works with air-spaced triplet (which are nearly identical for the cemented as well) will not work with the oil-spaced one. For instance, this particular triplet if air-spaced will have its higher-order spherical aberration excess nearly eliminated by putting -0.03 conic on the second surface, and the primary spherical induced by that offset by putting -0.225 conic on the front surface. And if lens' interspaces is filled with oil, the needed conics are -0.5 and -.538 for the third and first surface, respectively (third surface requires significantly less aspherizing in this case). The output is also very different for the air-spaced and oiled objective, as shown below (since OSLO Edu doesn't list lens oils, prescription uses Schott KF6 crown which has similar refractive index to some commonly used oils).



Compared to the non-aspherized air-spaced lens with all other specs identical, removing higher-order spherical with aspherization did somewhat reduce the error in the blue vs. red, but only by about 10%. Thus removing 6th order spherical aberration residual with aspherization wouldn't be justified with this particular lens, less so considering that it would require double aspherization. The results are, however, very different with the oiled lens. Due to the refraction being very much suppressed by the higher refractive index in the interspace (1.52 for KF6 vs. 1 for air), the inner surfaces act as of significantly weaker radii, requiring a higher nominal conic for canceling the 6th order spherical imbalance. But the required change of surface profile to remove 6th order spherical here also affects spherochromatism in the 4th order spherical, simultaneously removing both, 6th and 4th order spherochromatism. The result is a nearly zero-spherochromatism lens, which is at
/7 better corrected than TOA-type lens at /7.7 (note that a slight change in radii was required to offset the effect of aspherization on longitudinal spherochromatism; it increased the focal length about 1%). Unfortunately, putting -0.5 conic on such a strongly curved surface (/0.8 if mirror) - more so considering it is a hard to work with glass - is highly unappealing in terms of related cost. The alternative of aspherizing non-FPL53 surfaces (0.4 conic on the first and -39 last surface) would eliminate the 6th order residual, but with no reduction in spherochromatism.
However, the manner in which the 6th order excess is generated varies with the glass combinations and lens configuration. The above example is not a "good candidate" for aspherization, with double aspherization required, and little to gain from it. The reason for double aspherization here is that one surface needs to be aspherized in order to minimize 6th order spherical, but this cannot be compensated for by bending the mid element, due to the 6th order spherical aberration total for the two inner surface pairs remaining significant. Thus compensatory aspherization of another surface is necessary. This may change with different glass combinations, different lens arrangement, or both. For instance, this same glass combination but in the positive-negative-positive (PNP) element arrangement - hence with the matching glass sandwiched between two ED elements - only requires singe aspherization, as shown below, can have its 6th order spherical aberration residual eliminated by aspherizing a single non-FPL53 surface, with the primary



spherical induced by aspherizing neutralized by the aberration of opposite sign induced by reshaping the mid element (first and last radius are changed in order to minimize coma which was to a smaller extent also induced by reshaping the mid element). As the LA graphs and RMS numbers show, spherochromatism is significantly reduced with aspherizing (note that F/C correction can be made still better, by slightly weakening the positive vs. negative power, i.e. shifting red to the left, and blue/violet to the right, at a price of g/r error increase). The negatives are the relatively strong aspheric required, and two ED glass element needed in the PNP triplet arrangement.
In order to be viable for aspherization, an NPN triplet has to use different matching glasses. Here's an example where the matching crowns are also Ohara, as well as the glass used to simulate the oil (nearly identical to the Schott KF6 in the index and dispersion).
 


The aspherized LA plot is very similar to that of the published plot for the AP 140mm
/7.5 EDF triplet apo (in the published lines, which are somewhat different, with the 460nm instead of 436nm, no 706nm and unspecified line in between e and F). There is no way to know how close are these specs to the actual ones - except that we know it is a NPN arrangement with FPL53 as the mid element - but this fast and large triplet had to be aspherized in order not to show the 6th order residual. While the spherochromatism is somewhat reduced in the aspherized version, the gain is rather small. The red/blue-violet imbalance is also slightly smaller with aspherizing (which should result in a slightly whither white-star image), but even both combined make for a rather small difference. It is important to note, though, that the g-line LA is 25% smaller in the aspherized version, hence optimizing for the violet would give the aspherized version a slight edge in this respect. Still, the only rationale for aspherizing here would be to bring the lens as close to perfection as possible (note that the mid element in the AP lens is not equi-convex - the first surface is more strongly curved, which may make it possible to aspherize only the 5th surface, perhaps less than in this example - but the point here is to examine the gain from aspherizing, which should remain similar, considering that the aspherized version's LA graph is nearly identical to the published data for the AP lens).
However, this is only so in the context of the error magnitude expressed as RMS wavefront error, or corresponding Strehl. Neither accounts for the differences in the pattern of the disturbed energy and its possible effects. Looking from the standpoint of distribution of the energy lost from central maxima, the benefit from aspherization can be significant even in this case (as well as in the case of the doublet example). Even if the RMS error decrease is relatively small, the effect on
ensquared energy just from replacing balanced secondary spherical - and to a smaller extend its partially balanced forms - with primary spherical at best focus can result in appreciable benefit in imaging applications. It could also be beneficial in visual use, since balanced 6th/4th order (i.e. secondary) spherical aberration throws energy lost to the Airy disc significantly farther away than primary spherical of similar magnitude (FIG. 98). This generally makes the wavelengths with the largest error - commonly the blue/violet - more readily visible as a separate fringe coloration, particularly on bright objects. While contrast-wise this shouldn't have significant effect if the magnitude of aberrations remains similar, it could still produce a noticeable cosmetic, i.e. color purity improvement in such instances. It could also enhance imaging performance in these wavelengths. Combined with the possible reduction in the 4th order spherical due to aspherization, it could produce tangible overall benefit in the performance level.

Summing it up, the magnitude of secondary spectrum is only a part of the equation - and not necessarily the most important one - when it comes to the chromatic correction level of refracting objectives. Its existence itself does not prevent achieving sensibly perfect chromatic correction. Even the standard achromat will do if left long enough, and it only gets easier with glass combinations that have it reduced or even eliminated. But as the secondary spectrum diminishes, another chromatic aberration - spherochromatism, or variation of spherical aberration with wavelength (also called tertiary spectrum) - takes the front seat. In general, it increases exponentially with the relative aperture (D/), and in proportion with the aperture diameter. Thus, a zero secondary spectrum does not necessarily mean great chromatic correction, and could, in fact, accompany a less than perfect, or sub-standard one.

Similarly, the number of color crossings itself does not guarantee high level of correction. It does imply that the wavelengths over the visual range are packed tightly together, but what will ultimately decide the level of chromatic correction is the magnitude of spherochromatism. And it is, at any given focal ratio and aperture, mainly determined by the form of objective (doublet, triplet, quadruplet, Petzval) and Abbe differential of the glasses combined.

 Using adjective apochromatic in any form to imply the level of chromatic correction is fundamentally inappropriate, since its primary meaning is for the specific mode of chromatic correction. Apochromatic objective can be poorly color corrected and, on the other side, standard achromat can be sensibly perfect. Does that make them "fake apo" and "fake achromat"? Of course not. They still have those same respective modes of color correction. What determines their actual error level is not their color correction mode, but the size of aberration over the wavelength range. And it should be expressed in the standard form for all aberrations, the RMS wavefront error and Strehl ratio. Combined with the particular spectral sensitivity of the detector, they determine the actual diffraction intensity at the focus point, the polychromatic Strehl. According to generally accepted criteria for visual observing, refracting objective is sensibly perfect if its polychromatic Strehl exceeds 0.95.
 

9.2. Refracting telescope objectives: Apo and semi-apo        9.3. Designing doublet achromat

Home  |  Comments