Maximum power of refractive lenses: A fundamental limit

Patrick J. Reardon, Russell A. Chipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper explores the maximum optical power, i.e., the shortest focal length, that can be achieved with homogeneous materials given a cylindrical volume and a minimum-diameter constraint. An equation for the maximum optical power for a given lens diameter and two refractive indices is defined. For example, we determine that a 25.4- mm-diameter lens assembly cannot have an effective focal length of ≤6 mm using existing optical glasses in the visible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1409-1411
Number of pages3
JournalOptics letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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