Leland G. Atkinson III, Douglas S. Kindred and J. Robert Zinter
Gradient index (GRIN) optical materials have remained a novelty for over 100 years. Only recently have applications beyond photocopy and facsimile imaging arrays and fiber couplers begun to emerge. These new applications are largely driven by advances in the manufacture of GRIN materials and the more widespread understanding of GRIN properties and anomalies by optical design engineers. This article reviews where GRIN has been, new GRIN materials, how to design with GRIN materials, where we think GRIN is going, and some current applications being pursued by Gradient Lens Corp. (GLC). For a more complete bibliography of gradient index technology, see Marchand or Moore.
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