Gradient-index lenses can be viewed from the perspectives of both imaging and nonimaging optics, that is, in terms of both image fidelity and achievable flux concentration. The simple class of gradient-index lenses with spherical symmetry, often referred to as modified Luneburg lenses, is revisited. An alternative derivation for established solutions is offered; the method of Fermat’s strings and the principle of skewness conservation are invoked. Then these nominally perfect imaging devices are examined from the additional vantage point of power transfer, and the degree to which they realize the thermodynamic limit to flux concentration is determined. Finally, the spherical gradient-index lens of the fish eye is considered as a modified Luneburg lens optimized subject to material constraints.
© 2000 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: January 24, 2000
Revised Manuscript: May 1, 2000
Published: August 1, 2000
Jeffrey M. Gordon, "Spherical gradient-index lenses as perfect imaging and maximum power transfer devices," Appl. Opt. 39, 3825-3832 (2000)