We will limit this discussion to optical systems making use of plastic components instead of or in conjunction with conventional glass elements; we will not explore Fresnel optics, lenticular arrays, or multiple lens arrays, which must be produced in plastic. We will examine the various production techniques in current use and list and describe suitable molding materials. We will then discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of conventional plastic optical elements and systems. Finally, we will attempt to show how their design and manufacture differ from the design and manufacture of their glass counterparts.
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