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OPTICAL PRISMS Download PDF document

Optical prisms are blocks of optical material with flat, polished sides that are attached at precisely controlled angles to each other. Optical prisms may be used in an optical system to deflect or deviate a beam of light. They can invert or rotate an image, disperse light into its component wavelengths, and be used to separate states of polarization.

The orientation of glass prism determines its effect on a beam of light or image. A viewer looks through a prism at an object and sees a virtual image. This image may be displaced from the original object, or, in the case of a dove prism, may coincide with the object. Furthermore, image orientation may differ from the object, as shown in the drawings below.

Optical prisms will introduce aberrations when used with convergent or divergent beams of light. Using prisms with collimated or nearly collimated light will help minimize aberrations. Conjugate distances that include prisms should be long.


Right Angle Prisms 
Penta Prisms 
Beamsplitter Penta Prisms 
Dove Prisms 
Roof Prims 
Porro Prisms 
Corner Cube Retro-Reflectors 
Anamorphic Prisms 
Brewster Windows 

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Right Angle Prisms
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Corner cube Retro-reflector
Anamorphic Prisms
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