UV lenses are special optical lenses designed to be used for light with wavelengths lower than 400 nm. They may be used for laser applications that extend into the UV spectrum, for focusing applications, or for collimation. At Avantier, we produce custom UV lenses on request.
Depending on the design of the lens and the substrates used, a UV lens may perform optimally over a larger band than simply the UV range. UV fused silica lenses can be designed to have strong performance in the visible (VIS), near-infrared (NIR), or infrared (IR) spectra as well as over the UV range.
Applications of UV Lenses
UV lenses may be used for focusing ultraviolet light sources, for polychromatic illumination in fluorescence applications, for microlithography, spectroscopy, and laser fusion projects. From military and defense to industrial quality control and forensics, UV optics is a robust and quickly growing field.
Sometimes the term “UV lenses” is also used to refer to lenses that are UV coated to protect the eye from the sun’s harmful rays. Macular degeneration is just one of many eye problems that can occur if the eye is subject to UV rays from light sources like the sun, but UV protection coatings can ensure that you are fully protecting your eyes even when the ultraviolet count is high.
Special Considerations for UV Lenses
Although UV lenses perform in a similar way to other lenses and are used in similar applications, there are some important considerations to keep in mind when working with UV optics. Scattering, dispersion effects, and laser damage and degradation are all important issues to be aware of when designing your UV setup.
Scattering effects can occur anywhere on the spectrum, but they’re especially pronounced when working in UV. This is directly related to the short wavelengths of UV light, which makes it prone to scatter when meeting any inhomogeneity or scratch on a lens. To avoid scattering effects, you’ll want to make sure any UV lens has small parasitic birefringence, a homogenous refractive index, and the potential to be polished up very smoothly.
Dispersion effects also depend on the spectral region and many substrates exhibit stronger chromatic dispersion in the UV range as contrasted with Vis and IR. Where this is a problem, achromatic optics can be used.
Laser damage and degradation can be an issue as the optical damage threshold of substrates is often lower in the UV spectral range than with longer wavelengths of light. This is because two-photon absorption can be enough to bridge the band gap. To avoid laser damage and degradation, ensure your UV lens is designed to be used with UV light and lasers, and ensure no vapors from lubrication oils get into intense ultraviolet beams.
Examples of UV Lenses
A few examples of standard UV lenses that can be custom ordered to various focal lengths include:
- Achromatic lenses
- Aspheric lenses
- Ball lenses with spherical surfaces
- Singlet lenses (plano convex lenses PCX or double convex DCX lenses)
- UV-to-NIR corrected triplet lenses
- Microlens arrays and lens kits
- Cylindrical microlens arrays
Ball lenses with spherical surfaces
Double convex DCX lenses
Microlens arrays and lens kits
Plano convex lenses PCX
Our optical engineers are not only highly skilled at producing quality custom designs, they also are renowned for their interpersonal skills and their ability to work with a wide range of clients, providing a customized experience to each person we serve. Whether you need a lens designed for infinite conjugate applications or a UV finite conjugate lens for a videography application, we can get you what you need. Contact us today to schedule an initial consult.
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