A parabolic mirror has many uses, both in the scientific world and as a way to improve solar power. If you're not familiar with parabolic mirrors key terms, however, you may not be sure what type you need. You may need to purchase an off-axis parabolic mirror or a diamond-turned parabolic mirror. It also helps to understand optical replication and the mirror's focal point. Learn the following words to help you make a decision about parabolic mirrors.
Off-axis parabolic mirrorAn off-axis parabolic mirror is a mirror that has been cut off from a larger parabolic mirror. This means that it doesn't have the same parabola shape that you would expect from a traditional parabolic mirror.
Diamond-turned parabolic mirrorA diamond-turned parabolic mirror has more than one focal point. This presents a diversion from the more traditional type of parabolic mirror.
Parabolic reflectorsParabolic reflector is the term used for a mirror that captures and reflects light. They are typically used in professional photography, to increase the power of the flash. More recently, they are also being used in solar power applications, magnifying the effects of the sun to increase the amount of energy collected by solar panels.
Parabolic telescope mirrorA parabolic telescope mirror is used in large telescopes. They take in the light from the stars and reflect it into a focal point. This is the image that you see.
Optical replicationThe optical replication process is what is used in a parabolic mirror. In this process, the original is treated with a release layer and a negative of the surface is attached. This can then be used to create a replication of the original.
Focal pointBecause parabolic mirrors have a concave curved shape to them, the light that they reflect is not straight, as in a traditional mirror. Rather, the curve of the mirror focuses all light into a single point, called the focal point.
Michigan State University.