Segmented Optical Component

Case ID:

This technology combines diffraction and refraction in a multi-order diffractive optical surface that is an extension of Fresnel lens technology that reflects numerous orders of wavelengths in a wide bandwidth that is constrained by the refractive dispersion of the lens. This has the advantage of collecting and focusing broader wavebands of light than standard achromatic lenses but at a fraction of the volume and weight.


Currently, there are a number of reflective and refractive systems that are used in different types of optical applications. Fresnel lenses with shaped optical surfaces were proposed for large telescopes in the early 2000s in order to reduce volume and weight for space telescope applications. National research centers, like Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, proposed large scale thin membrane lens with Fresnel surfaces in the late 1990s. Ophthalmic uses for combinations of Fresnel surfaces in a single lens appeared in the mid 2000s with patents for progressive lenses.


The proposed technology is an engineered Fresnel diffractive surface lens that could potentially replace complex optical systems for a fraction of the cost and weight. Inventor Dr. Milster has been a part of the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences since 1989, and during this time he has been performing research within hyper-numerical aperture imaging, microscopy, data storage, near-field optics, and lithography fields. Dr. Milster is joined by students working on instrument development projects using freeform optics.



  • Used in place of traditional reflective or refractive optical system
    • Space telescopes
    • Optical sensors


  • No obscured aperture
  • Lightweight
  • Less sensitive to manufacturing and alignment errors
  • Composed of stable optical materials
  • Easy replication for space telescopes array
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Kennedy Nyairo
Sr. Licensing Manager, Optical Sciences
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):