A study of gradient-index eyepieces was conducted. The general performance of homogeneous eyepieces having two and three elements was examined. Axial gradients were introduced into the eyepieces in an attempt to increase the half-fields of view to 25° and extend the eye reliefs to 12 mm. The homogeneous eyepieces examined were of the Huygenian, Ramsden, and Kellner configurations. These eyepieces were scaled to the specifications of f/3, 21.4-mm focal length, and magnifying power of 10×. These classic systems were optimized to produce two- and three-element homogeneous eyepieces to determine how homogeneous systems could perform with the extended eye relief and larger field of view. Axial gradient eyepieces having two and three elements were designed to the same specifications. The balance of third-order aberrations, color, and distortion was maintained or improved compared to the homogeneous systems.. The additional degrees of freedom associated with the gradient made it possible to extend the eye relief and increase the field of view of these eyepieces.
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