Dove Prism

A Dove Prism is a specialized optical component utilized across diverse fields such as astronomy, interferometry, and pattern recognition. Possessing distinctive attributes, this prism is adept at rotation, retroreflection (the reflection of an image back to its source), and image inversion. Its configuration resembles that of a right-angle prism with its upper section truncated.

Dove Prisms
Dove Prism

Avantier provides specifications for Dove Prisms, encompassing the following key features:

  • Collimated Light: Dove Prisms work best with collimated light, which means light waves that are parallel. When used with converging light (non-parallel rays), they can introduce substantial astigmatism due to their longer length.
  • Image Rotation: Light entering through a sloped face and propagating along the longitudinal axis of the prism reflects once from the bottom face and emerges from the other short side, resulting in an inverted image. An interesting property of Dove Prisms is that if you rotate the prism around its longitudinal axis, the image will rotate at twice the speed. A 30-degree rotation of the prism will result in a 60-degree image rotation.
  • Total Internal Reflection (TIR): The high incidence angle, even when the propagation axis and prism’s longitudinal axis are not perfectly parallel, ensures that light reflecting from the bottom face undergoes total internal reflection. In situations where the hypotenuse surface can’t be maintained clean enough for TIR, metal or dielectric coatings can be applied to the prism.
  • Material Options: Dove Prisms are typically made from materials such as BK7 Grade A optical glass, Corning Fused Silica 7980, JGS1 UV grade fused silica, and JGS2.
  • Dimension Tolerance: The dimension tolerance specifies the acceptable variation in the prism’s dimensions. Our factory standard for dimension tolerance is +/- 0.1 mm, and tighter tolerances can be provided upon request.
  • Angle Tolerance: The angle tolerance of Dove Prisms is typically less than 5 arc minutes, indicating the allowable variation in the angles.
  • Flatness: The flatness of a prism is the deviation of each of its surfaces from an ideal flat surface. Our factory standard for Dove Prisms is l/4l at 632.8 nm.
  • Surface Quality: The surface quality of a prism is described by a scratch and dig rating. A 60-40 scratch and dig rating, which is the factory standard, ensures highly polished surfaces with defined criteria for scratches and digs.

Factory Standard 


BK7 Grade A optical glass, Corning Fused Silica 7980, JGS1, JGS2

Clear Aperture


Dimension Tolerance


Angle Tolerance

<5 arc minutes


l/4l @ 632.8 nm

Surface Quality



On request

Dove Prisms have various applications due to their ability to rotate or invert images without lateral transposition or deviation. They are commonly used as image rotators in optical-mechanical systems. This type of prism was invented by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, a Prussian meteorologist and physicist, and has found important uses in optical instruments and systems that require image manipulation and reflection.


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