Abstract

Building optical systems that actually meet specifications requires more than a knowledge of optics and the use of contemporary design codes. Excellence also comes with a kind of “street” knowledge, learned not from textbooks but from experience, mostly from failures. These hard-won lessons are colloquially described here as “folk wisdom.” If considered during system conceptualization and design, these notes may improve efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimate performance. Costs, mechanical constraints, parts choice, specification and procurement, available adjustments, alignment sequence and retention, deterioration of performance with aging, and other topics are considered.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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