Abstract

Traditional optical domes are spherical, which introduces constant aberrations with look angle. However, spherical domes are not optimum for reducing aerodynamic drag. Conformal domes deviate from spherical to reduce drag but they generate dynamic aberrations varying significantly with look angle in the field of regard. Thus, conformal domes require unique challenges for aberration correction. This paper presents a method to reduce the dynamic aberrations through designing the inner surface of conformal domes. This method follows the principle that the optical axis ray of the imaging system maintains the same direction after refraction through the conformal dome for different look angles. Based on this principle, equations that the inner surface should satisfy are established and a numerical solution method is introduced. Eventually, Zernike polynomial coefficients of Z4, Z5, Z8, and Z9, which represent defocus, astigmatism, coma, and spherical aberration, respectively, are analyzed for quadratic domes with different inner surfaces. Compared with domes with traditional inner surfaces, quadratic domes with the inner surfaces calculated by this method have smaller Zernike aberrations. In conclusion, this design method for the inner surface can effectively reduce dynamic aberrations.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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