A cylindrical lens is a lens which focuses light into a line instead of a point, as a spherical lens would. The curved face or faces of a cylindrical lens are sections of a cylinder, and focus the image passing through it into a line parallel to the intersection of the surface of the lens and a plane tangent to it. The lens compresses the image in the direction perpendicular to this line, and leaves it unaltered in the direction parallel to it (in the tangent plane). In a light sheet microscope, a cylindrical lens is placed in front of the illumination objective to create the light sheet used for imaging. Cylindrical Lenses focus or expand light in one axis only. They can be used to focus light into a thin line in optical metrology, laser scanning, spectroscopic, laser diode, acousto-optic, and optical processor applications. They can also be used to expand the output of a laser diode into a symmetrical beam.
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