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Lens Action:
Interactive Java Tutorials

This index is a gateway to the Molecular Expressions interactive Java tutorials that explore lens properties and action. These lens tutorials allow students to move an object back and forth in from of different types of lenses and view what happens to the images, both virtual and real, of the object. Use the links below for navigation to tutorials of interest.

Bi-Concave Lenses - This tutorial allows visitors to move an object back and forth in from of a bi-concave lens and view what happens both virtual and real images of the object. The bi-concave lens is used to expand light beams or to increase system focal lengths.

Bi-Convex Lenses - Another lens tutorial that lets students move an object back and forth in from of a bi-convex lens and view what happens both virtual and real images of the object. Convex lenses are generally utilized for focusing and image magnification in simple optical systems where minimizing aberrations is not of fundamental importance.

Plano-Convex Lenses (Object Facing Curved Surface) - The plano-convex lens is a positive lens that is able to converge parallel light to form an image. This tutorial explores lens action and how object distance affects image formation with plano-convex lenses when the object is facing the convex surface of the lens.

Plano-Convex Lenses (Object Facing Flat Surface) - The plano-convex lens is a positive lens that is able to converge parallel light to form an image. This tutorial explores lens action and how object distance affects image formation with plano-convex lenses when the object is facing the flat surface of the lens.

Plano-Concave Lenses (Object Facing Curved Surface) - The plano-concave lens is the simplest negative lens having a shape designed to expand light beams or to increase system focal lengths. Placing the curved surface facing the collimated beam produces minimal spherical aberration. This tutorial explores how an object is imaged when the object faces the curved surface of a plano-concave lens.

Plano-Concave Lenses (Object Facing Flat Surface) - This tutorial is similar to the one above except it explores how an object is imaged when the object faces the flat surface of a plano-concave lens.

Positive Meniscus Lenses - Positive meniscus lenses are designed to minimize spherical aberration and are usually used in small f-number applications. This tutorial explores lens action in a positive meniscus lens when the object is facing the positively curved surface of the lens.

Negative Meniscus Lenses - Negative meniscus lenses are offered as an alternative to other negative lenses and are particularly appropriate for the high index materials. They are commonly used in beam expanding applications where minimal spherical aberration is desired.

Refractive Index Effects on Convex Lenses - This tutorial explores how changes in the refractive index of a lens material affects the focal point of the lens. It also examines how changes in the imaging medium refractive index induce a change in the lens focal point.

The Variable Lens - This unique tutorial explores the effect of lens shape on image formation. The visitor is able to configure a lens to be concave, convex, flat, or a combination of the three.

Lens Shape: Effect on Lens Action Flash Tutorial - This tutorial explores the variable lens using Flash instead of Java. See how changing the shape of a lens affects the action of the lens.

Contributing Authors

Mortimer Abramowitz - Olympus America, Inc., Two Corporate Center Drive., Melville, New York, 11747.

Kirill I. Tchourioukanov and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.


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