Abstract

The coatings used on telescope mirrors and other optical interfaces can have a marked effect on an optical system’s image quality. We describe the wave-front aberrations, particularly the defocus and on-axis astigmatism, that are induced by the s- and p-phase shifts of coatings. These coating-induced wave-front aberrations are very small, particularly near the design wavelengths of the coatings, but they can under certain circumstances overshadow the geometric wave-front aberrations of the system. The wave-front aberrations that are induced by reflection-enhanced coatings on an f/1.5 Cassegrain telescope are numerically evaluated as an example. A theory of coating-induced on-axis astigmatism and chromatic aberration is presented, and a simple algorithm that uses polarization ray tracing to calculate coating-induced defocus and astigmatism coefficients in radially symmetric systems is provided.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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