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N-BK7 Plano-Convex Lenses (Uncoated)
These uncoated Plano-Convex Lenses are fabricated from RoHS-compliant N-BK7 glass. N-BK7 is typically chosen whenever the additional benefits of UV fused silica (i.e., good transmission further into the UV and a lower coefficient of thermal expansion) are not necessary. They have a positive focal length and near-best-form shape for infinite and finite conjugate applications.
Plano-convex lenses can focus a collimated beam or collimate light from a point source. To minimize the introduction of spherical aberration, a collimated light source should be incident on the curved surface of the lens when being focused and a point light source should be incident on the planar surface when being collimated.
The focal length of each lens can be calculated using a simplified thick lens equation:
f = R/(n-1),
where n is the index of refraction and R is the radius of curvature of the lens surface. These lenses are fabricated from N-BK7, which has an Abbe Number of 64.17; this value is an indicator of the dispersion.
These N-BK7 Plano-Convex lenses are also available with one of five antireflection coatings (-A, -AB, -B, -C, or -D), which reduces the amount of light reflected from each surface of the lens (see the Selection Guide table below for links to each coating option). Since approximately 4% of the incident light is reflected at each surface of an uncoated substrate, the application of an AR coating improves transmission, which is important in low-light applications, and prevents the undesirable effects (e.g., ghost images) associated with multiple reflections. Having optics that are AR coated on both surfaces is particularly desirable for applications utilizing multiple optical elements. Please see the Graphs tab for coating information.
Thorlabs offers fixed lens mounts that can be used for mounting the lenses sold here. For mounting high-curvature lenses in select sizes, extra-thick retaining rings with SM05 (0.535"-40), SM1 (1.035"-40), or SM2 (2.035"-40) threading are available that provide extra clearance for spanner wrenches (see the Lens Mounting Guide tab for more information).
N-BK7 lens kits are also available. Please click here for information.
Below is the transmission curve for N-BK7, a RoHS-compliant form of BK7. Total Transmission is shown for a 10 mm thick, uncoated sample and includes surface reflections. Each of these unmounted N-BK7 plano-convex lenses can be ordered uncoated or with one of the following broadband AR coatings: 350 - 700 nm (designated with -A), 400 - 1100 nm (-AB), 650 - 1050 nm (-B), 1050 - 1700 nm (-C), or 1.65 - 3.0 µm (-D).
These high-performance multilayer AR coatings have an average reflectance of less than 0.5% (per surface) across the specified wavelength ranges (except for the -AB and -D coatings, which provide <1.0% average reflectance) and provide good performance for angles of incidence (AOI) between 0° and 30° (0.5 NA). The plot shown below indicates the performance of the standard coatings in this family as a function of wavelength. Broadband coatings have a typical absorption of 0.25%, which is not shown in the reflectance plots.
Click to Enlarge
A Thorlabs technician measuring the irregularity of one of our singlets using a Zygo GPI-XP/D Interferometer.
Click here for raw data.
In the thick lens equation, use the index of refraction for N-BK7 at the wavelength of interest to approximate the wavelength-dependent focal length of any of the plano-convex lenses.
The focal length of a thick spherical lens can be calculated using the thick lens equation below. In this expression, nl is the index of refraction of the lens, R1 and R2 are the radii of curvature for surfaces 1 and 2, respectively, and d is the center thickness of the lens.
When using the thick lens equation to calculate the focal length of a plano-convex lens, R1=∞ and R2=-R. Note that the minus sign in front of R is due to the sign convention used when deriving the thick lens equations and values of R are reported in the Specs tab as well as on the mechanical drawing for each lens. Therefore, via substitution, the thick lens equation becomes
The focal length of the lens calculated using the simplified thick lens equation directly above is the distance between the second (back) principle plane (H") and the position at which a collimated beam incident on the curved surface of the plano-convex is focused. The principle plane positions of a thick lens can be calculated with the following equations:
However, as with the thick lens equation, H' simplifies to zero and H" simplifies to
when used to calculate the principal plane locations of plano-convex lenses. fb is the back focal length of the lens, which is often referred to as the working distance of the lens.
Mounting High-Curvature Optics
Thorlabs' retaining rings are used to secure unmounted optics within lens tubes or optic mounts. These rings are secured in position using a compatible spanner wrench. For flat or low-curvature optics, standard retaining rings manufactured from anodized aluminum are available from Ø5 mm to Ø4". For high-curvature optics, extra-thick retaining rings are available in Ø1/2", Ø1", and Ø2" sizes.
Extra-thick retaining rings offer several features that aid in mounting high-curvature optics such as aspheric lenses, short-focal-length plano-convex lenses, and condenser lenses. As shown in the animation to the right, the guide flange of the spanner wrench will collide with the surface of high-curvature lenses when using a standard retaining ring, potentially scratching the optic. This contact also creates a gap between the spanner wrench and retaining ring, preventing the ring from tightening correctly. Extra-thick retaining rings provide the necessary clearance for the spanner wrench to secure the lens without coming into contact with the optic surface.