In illumination and other applications, light must be transferred from a source to a target by optical means, without the need to form an image of such source. Moreover, there is often the need to explicitly avoid image formation, and accomplish with additional goals such as maximum transfer of light (high efficiency), reduced optics size and costs, precribed illuminance patterns or uniformity in the delivered light beams.
The branch of optics that specializes in these types of problems is called nonimaging optics, and was initiated in the mid 1960s. Since then it has progressed in the development of methods and devices and widened its applications enormously. This chapter explains nonimaging optics theoretical background first, and then proceeds with the explanation of main types of design problems and design methods utilized in this expertise field. Some practical applications for nonimaging designs are shown in the last section.