Distortion aberration in optics

Distortion aberration in optics:

Distortion aberration in optics is alteration of original shape and characteristics of an image. This occurs due to shift in the center of reference sphere. The amount of image point displacement in the direction of optical axis is defined by Δη. This Δη not only changes magnification since the shift is proportional to η3 it results in image shape distortion.

\triangle \eta =-\frac { R }{ n } { b }_{ 5 }{ \eta }^{ 3 } 

Δη – Change in image height, R – Radius of reference sphere, n – Refractive index,             η – Image height,  b5 – Magnitude coefficient

optics distortion aberration comparison
Image: Different types of optical image distortions are compared based on square mesh

Types of distortion:

1.Barrel distortion

2.Pincushion distortion

The following diagram shows a distortion aberration free optical system

distortion aberration free optical system
Image: Distortion aberration free optical system

Barrel distortion:

Barrel distortion occurs when magnitude coefficient bis positive. The other name for barrel distortion is “Positive Distortion”.

barrel distortion
Image: Barrel distortion occurs when magnitude coefficient is positive

Pincushion distortion:

Pincushion distortion results when magnitude coefficient bis negative. The other name for pincushion distortion “Negative Distortion”.

pincushion distortion
Image: Pincushion distortion when magnitude coefficient is negative


W T Welford FRS, “Aberrations of optical systems”, Adam hilger imprint by IOP publishing Ltd, ISBN 0852745648, 1991.

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