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Active optical zoom system

United States Patent

December 20, 2005
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Sandia National Laboratories - Visit the Intellectual Property Management and Licensing Website
An active optical zoom system changes the magnification (or effective focal length) of an optical imaging system by utilizing two or more active optics in a conventional optical system. The system can create relatively large changes in system magnification with very small changes in the focal lengths of individual active elements by leveraging the optical power of the conventional optical elements (e.g., passive lenses and mirrors) surrounding the active optics. The active optics serve primarily as variable focal-length lenses or mirrors, although adding other aberrations enables increased utility. The active optics can either be LC SLMs, used in a transmissive optical zoom system, or DMs, used in a reflective optical zoom system. By appropriately designing the optical system, the variable focal-length lenses or mirrors can provide the flexibility necessary to change the overall system focal length (i.e., effective focal length), and therefore magnification, that is normally accomplished with mechanical motion in conventional zoom lenses. The active optics can provide additional flexibility by allowing magnification to occur anywhere within the FOV of the system, not just on-axis as in a conventional system.
Wick; David V. (Albuquerque, NM)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
10/ 871,199
June 18, 2004
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST This invention was made with Government support under contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention.