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Scattered light is a blessing for all of us as it provides the means by which we observe the world around us, but it is also often a curse because unwanted scattered light (or stray light, as it is often called) can seriously degrade the performance of precision optical instruments. There is surface scatter caused by the residual roughness of a highly reflecting mirror, subsurface scatter from many objects or materials such as paints or coatings, particulate scatter caused by contamination of otherwise very smooth and clean optical surfaces, and even bulk scatter from random refractive index fluctuations in the transmissive optical glass used to produce lenses and other optical components.
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