Cylindrical Lenses

Cylindrical Lenses are optical lenses that provide one-dimensional shaping of light, focusing light to a thin line instead of a point. You can visualize the curved face of a cylindrical lens as cut-out section of a cylinder. It exhibits differing radii in the X and Y axis and either a cylindrical or semi-cylindrical shape. They may be plano-concave or plano-convex, and can be manufactured from a wide range of substrates with your choice of anti-reflective coatings. At Avantier, we have the capabilities to manufacture cylindrical lens solutions with custom radii and diverse specifications.

Types of Cylindrical Lenses

A cylindrical lens is characterized by both its focal length and its geometry. They can be square, circular, or rectangular.

A plano concave cylindrical lens will expand light on a single axis. It is also known as a negative cylindrical lens, and is used for one-dimensional image compression, anamorphic beam shaping, and laser line generation.

plano concave cylindrical lens
Plano Concave Cylindrical Lens

A plano convex cylindrical lens focuses light on one axis, and can also be used to magnify an image in one direction. These lenses are also known as positive cylindrical lenses, and are often used in laser projection.

plano convex cylindrical lens
Plano Convex Cylindrical Lens

Aspheric cylindrical lenses have a form that deviates from that of a true cylinder. They are related to standard cylindrical lenses in the same way standard aspheric lenses are related to spheric lenses. Designed to reduce spherical aberrations, they are used in much the same contexts as other cylindrical lenses.

Aspheric lenses
Aspheric Cylindrical Lens

Applications of Cylindrical Lenses

They are used in optical spectrometers, in holography and in optical coherence tomography. They also have an important beam shaping function in many laser applications, focusing a laser beam in one dimension to form a laser line.

A combination of two cylindrical lens placed orthogonal to one another can be used to create symmetrical output beams for laser diodes, rather than the elliptical beams one would generate with spherical lenses. They are also used to adjust image height size and can correct astigmatism in imaging systems or ophthalmological lenses. 

Custom Cylindrical Lenses

At Avantier we are well equipped to produce lenses to any custom radii and to a wide variety of specifications. Substrates available include Schott, Ohara, CDGM, UV Fused Silica, MgF2, CaF2, ZnSe, and  ZnS. Our optical engineers can help you design the ideal custom lens for your application, whether that is a plano-convex cylinder lens, a plano-concave cylinder lens, a bi-convex cylinder lens, a double concave cylinder lens, or a meniscus cylindrical lens.

Other options include achromatic cylindrical lenses, parabolic mirrors, cylindrical ellipsoidal mirrors and double curved cylindrical lenses. We are also able to design and produce special types of cylindrical lens such as angled cylindrical mirrors, off-axis cylindrical mirrors and fan shaped lenses. 

We are proud to have custom made CGH cylinder nulls for most F/#s and apertures which enable us to conduct thorough testing on our cylindrical lenses. These tests combined with those run on our Zygo Verifire interferometer enable us to ensure every lens produced at Avantier meets and exceeds all applicable standards and comes with all applicable interferogram and inspection reports. Please contact us if you’d like to schedule a free consultation or request for a quote on your next project.


Contact us NOW for sales & expert advice.