Concept

Optical resolution

Summary
Optical resolution describes the ability of an imaging system to resolve detail, in the object that is being imaged. An imaging system may have many individual components, including one or more lenses, and/or recording and display components. Each of these contributes (given suitable design, and adequate alignment) to the optical resolution of the system; the environment in which the imaging is done often is a further important factor. Lateral resolution Resolution depends on the distance between two distinguishable radiating points. The sections below describe the theoretical estimates of resolution, but the real values may differ. The results below are based on mathematical models of Airy discs, which assumes an adequate level of contrast. In low-contrast systems, the resolution may be much lower than predicted by the theory outlined below. Real optical systems are complex, and practical difficulties often increase the distance between distinguishable point sources.
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