Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
A magnetic field with axial symmetry capable of converging beams of charged particles of uniform velocity and of forming images of objects placed in the path of such beams. Magnetic lenses are employed as condensers, objectives, and projection lenses in magnetic electron microscopes, as final focusing lenses in the electron guns of cathode-ray tubes, and for the selection of groups of charged particles of specific velocity in velocity spectrographs.
Magnetic lenses may be formed by solenoids or helical coils of wire traversed by electric current, by axially symmetric pole pieces excited by a coil encased in a high-permeability material such as soft iron, or by similar pole pieces excited by permanent magnets. In the last two instances the armatures and pole pieces serve to concentrate the magnetic field in a narrow region about the axis.
Magnetic lenses are always converging lenses. Their action differs from that of electrostatic lenses and glass lenses in that they produce a rotation of the image in addition to the focusing action. For the simple uniform magnetic field within a long solenoid the image rotation is exactly 180°. Thus a uniform magnetic field forms an erect real image of an object on its axis.