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Appl Opt. 2003 Jan 1;42(1):97-107.

Design of an ultralight and compact projection lens.

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  • 1Beckman Institute, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


Driven by the need for lightweight head-mounted displays, we present the design of an ultralight and compact projection lens for a head-mounted projective display (HMPD). An HMPD consists of a pair of miniature projection lenses, beam splitters, and miniature displays mounted on the helmet and retroreflective sheeting materials placed strategically in the environment. The HMPD has been proposed recently as an alternative modality for three-dimensional visualization. After demonstrating the concept, building a first-generation custom-designed prototype, and investigating perception issues and application potentials, we designed an ultralight and compact projective lens with a diffractive optical element (DOE), plastic components, and aspheric surfaces for the next-generation prototype. The key contribution here lies in the conception, optimization, and assessment of the projection optics. Thus a brief review of the HMPD technology and related research is followed by a detail discussion of the conception and optimization of the ultralight and high-performance projection optics. The design of the DOE will be particularly described in detail. Finally, the diffraction efficiency of the DOE will be evaluated, and the overall performance of the optics will be assessed in both object space for the optical designer and visual space for possible end-users of the technology.

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