In optics, chromatic aberration (CA), also called chromatic distortion and spherochromatism, is a failure of a lens to focus all colors to the same point.[1] It is caused by dispersion: the refractive index of the lens elements varies with the wavelength of light. The refractive index of most transparent materials decreases with increasing wavelength.[2] Since the focal length of a lens depends on the refractive index, this variation in refractive index affects focusing.[3] Chromatic aberration manifests itself as "fringes" of color along boundaries that separate dark and bright parts of the image.

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Optical aberration

Spherical aberration
Petzval field curvature
Chromatic aberration

Photographic example showing high quality lens (top) compared to lower quality model exhibiting transverse chromatic aberration (seen as a blur and a rainbow edge in areas of contrast.)

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