Custom Fresnel Lens at Avantier

A Fresnel lens is a compact optical lens designed to provide excellent light gathering ability in a lightweight package. Typically composed of concentric grooves etched in plastic, these lenses can be manufactured with a large aperture and short focal length even while using much less material a conventional lens would require.

At Avantier, we produce custom Fresnel lenses for a wide variety of applications.

Fresnel Lens
Fresnel Lens

History of the Fresnel Lens

Fresnel lenses were designed by French physicist Augustin Fresnel, who sought to improve lighthouse illumination by replacing the reflectors being used with a ‘lens by steps’. Since a double convex lens of the size required would be far too heavy for his application, he proposed using a flattened design that would be both lighter and cheaper.

Since this  focusing power of a lens depends on optical surface curvature, he suggested reproducing the curvature of a double convex lens in sections, resulting in a lens that included all the surface area of the original—- but with most of the thickness removed. The original Fresnel lenses were made of glass, but most Fresnel lenses today are manufactured from molded polymers.

As some light is scattered at each junction in a Fresnel lens you will notice rings of light in the image plane. But though a Fresnel lens does not produce images of the same optical quality as a traditional lens, the lightweight compactness means it is a good choice for many illumination applications.

Applications of Fresnel Lenses

Fresnel lenses are used today in illumination, imaging, projection and solar panels.

The glass Fresnel lenses of yesterday are no longer used in many lighthouses, but they have in many cases been replaced by aerobeacons, which often contain plastic Fresnel lenses. Fresnel lenses can also be found in the optical landing systems of aircraft carriers or naval air stations, in searchlights or flashlights, and in the lighting instruments used for theatre and motion pictures.

Imaging uses of Fresnel lenses include virtual reality headsets, retina identification cameras, and in automobiles as rear view enhancers or to overcome the blind spots in trucks, especially when left-hand-drive trucks are driven on right-hand-drive roads or right-hand-drive trucks are driven on left hand drive roads.

While Fresnel lenses cannot be used for high resolution projection, they are a good economical option for projection applications where a high quality image is not essential. They can also be used to concentrate sunlight onto solar cells, lowering the cost and  increasing the efficiency of a solar setup.

Fresnel Lens
Fresnel Lens

Custom Fresnel Lenses at Avantier

At Avantier we create custom optics for clients in a wide range of fields, from medicine and defense to research to industry. Whether you need a plastic Fresnel lens for a consumer application, a glass Fresnel lens for cutting edge research, or any other lens or optical component, we have you covered. Contact us today to place a custom order or schedule your introductory consultation.


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