Lagrange invariant


In optics the Lagrange invariant is a measure of the light propagating through an optical system. It is defined by


where y and u are the marginal ray height and angle respectively, and ȳ and ū are the chief ray height and angle. n is the ambient refractive index. In order to reduce confusion with other quantities, the symbol Ж may be used in place of H.[1] Ж2 is proportional to the throughput of the optical system (related to étendue).[1] For a given optical system, the Lagrange invariant is a constant throughout all space, that is, it is invariant upon refraction and transfer.

The optical invariant is a generalization of the Lagrange invariant which is formed using the ray heights and angles of any two rays. For these rays, the optical invariant is a constant throughout all space.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b Greivenkamp, John E. (2004). Field Guide to Geometrical Optics. SPIE Field Guides vol. FG01. SPIE. p. 28. ISBN 0-8194-5294-7.
  2. ^ Optics Fundamentals, Newport Corporation, retrieved 9/8/2011