Imaging Spectrograph. Astigmatism Correction.

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Imaging Spectrograph.

Astigmatism Correction.



Among a large number of aberrations in optical systems special attention is paid to astigmatism, because this aberration is a typical and very important for all "classical" spectral instruments.

Mirror lenses, used in spectral instruments, do not have an axis of symmetry and besides aberrations, related to conventional centered systems, possess decentering aberration - astigmatism.

Astigmatism is the off-axis beams aberration when the focal points for the meridional and sagittal planes do not match. Astigmatism increases as the relative aperture is increased (decreasing f-number).

At different positions of an observation plane, image of a point has different shapes. As the observation plane is moved away from the optical surface, ellipse is reduced first and then degenerates into a line (perpendicular to the meridional plane) at the meridional focus. At further movement it is transformed again to an ellipse, further - into a circle, then in an ellipse again and in the focal point of sagittal plane it is transformed to the line (perpendicular to the sagittal plane), after that ellipse increases again.

In spectral instruments without astigmatism correction a plane of exit slit and photodetector is located in a plane of meridional plane of focus. This ensures high spectral resolution, but a point light source on the entrance slit is transformed into monochromatic vertical line in a focal plane of the instrument.

In all spectrographs, manufactured by SOL instruments, astigmatism is corrected through the use of aspheric optics. Spectral instruments with correction of astigmatism are called imaging monochromators and spectrographs.

If to an entrance slit of such type of a spectrograph the multiple point light sources spaced across a slit height are directed the spaced in height spectra will be formed in a focal plane.

This allows you to use Imaging spectral instruments (with compensated astigmatism) in multichannel (multi-track) spectroscopy, where the height spaced spectra, obtained in the focal plane, are recorded simultaneously by a matrix photodetector.

Use of the optical scheme with astigmatism compensation can also minimize the losses of light in a case of small size detectors. This is a specific feature for the IR detectors which have, as a rule, very small size of active area in order to reduce noise.

Compensation of astigmatism gives an additional vertical magnification of a spectral instrument, which should be considered when choosing optic fibers and detection systems.

Let us examine a few examples of signal recording with imaging spectrograph using a matrix CCD detector.



Fig.1. Effects of astigmatism when using off-axis concave mirror

Fig.1. Effects of astigmatism when using off-axis concave mirror.



Fig.2.Spectral image of optical fiber

Fig.2.Spectral image of 200 µm optical fiber in a focal plane of the monochromator-spectrograph MS7504 (without astigmatism correction). Entrance slit width: 25 µm.

Example 1.

Spectral images obtained with imaging monochromator-spectrograph MS7504i

For input of radiation in to the spectral instrument the multi-fiber optical bundle with a 200 µm fiber core diameter has been used, the distance between the fiber cores - 50 µm.


Enlarged area of the image

Enlarged area of the image.


Spectral images obtained with imaging monochromator-spectrograph MS7504i (grating 1800 l/mm, light source - mercury-helium lamp, pixel size of CCD detector 24x24 µm).

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Example 2.

Spectral image of the pinhole 20х20 μм


Spectrum of a line on which pinhole image falls

Example 3.


Spectral image of the pinhole obtained on imaging monochromator-spectrograph MS7504i with CCD detector. Pinhole size: 20x20 μм. CCD pixel size: 24x24 μм.

 Spectrum of a line on which pinhole image falls.

Upper part: a spectral image of eight optical fibers, obtained on monochromator-spectrograph MS3504i with CCD detector (1024x122 pixels, pixel size: 24x24 μм), grating 1200 l/mm, entrance slit width: 15 μм.

Lower part: a spectrum of a line marked as green horizontal line on the upper part of the drawing.


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