The method of drawing ray diagrams for double convex lens is described below. The description is applied to the task of drawing a ray diagram for an object located beyond the 2F point of a double convex lens.
1. Pick a point on the top of the object and draw three incident rays traveling towards the lens.
Using a straight edge, accurately draw one ray so that it passes exactly through the focal point on the way to the lens. Draw the second ray such that it travels exactly parallel to the principal axis. Draw the third incident ray such that it travels directly to the exact center of the lens. Place arrowheads upon the rays to indicate their direction of travel.
2. Once these incident rays strike the lens, refract them according to the three rules of refraction for converging lenses.
The ray that passes through the focal point on the way to the lens will refract and travel parallel to the principal axis. Use a straight edge to accurately draw its path. The ray that traveled parallel to the principal axis on the way to the lens will refract and travel through the focal point. And the ray that traveled to the exact center of the lens will continue in the same direction. Place arrowheads upon the rays to indicate their direction of travel. Extend the rays past their point of intersection.
3. Mark the image of the top of the object.
The image point of the top of the object is the point where the three refracted rays intersect. All three rays should intersect at exactly the same point. This point is merely the point where all light from the top of the object would intersect upon refracting through the lens. Of course, the rest of the object has an image as well and it can be found by applying the same three steps to another chosen point. (See note below.)
4. Repeat the process for the bottom of the object.
One goal of a ray diagram is to determine the location, size, orientation, and type of image that is formed by the double convex lens. Typically, this requires determining where the image of the upper and lower extreme of the object is located and then tracing the entire image. After completing the first three steps, only the image location of the top extreme of the object has been found. Thus, the process must be repeated for the point on the bottom of the object. If the bottom of the object lies upon the principal axis (as it does in this example), then the image of this point will also lie upon the principal axis and be the same distance from the mirror as the image of the top of the object. At this point the entire image can be filled in.
Some students have difficulty understanding how the entire image of an object can be deduced once a single point on the image has been determined. If the object is merely a vertical object (such as the arrow object used in the example below), then the process is easy. The image is merely a vertical line. In theory, it would be necessary to pick each point on the object and draw a separate ray diagram to determine the location of the image of that point. That would require a lot of ray diagrams as illustrated in the diagram below.
Fortunately, a shortcut exists. If the object is a vertical line, then the image is also a vertical line. For our purposes, we will only deal with the simpler situations in which the object is a vertical line that has its bottom located upon the principal axis. For such simplified situations, the image is a vertical line with the lower extremity located upon the principal axis.
The ray diagram above illustrates that when the object is located at a position beyond the 2F point, the image will be located at a position between the 2F point and the focal point on the opposite side of the lens. Furthermore, the image will be inverted, reduced in size (smaller than the object), and real. This is the type of information that we wish to obtain from a ray diagram.
Once the method of drawing ray diagrams is practiced a couple of times, it becomes as natural as breathing. Each diagram yields specific information about the image. The two diagrams below show how to determine image location, size, orientation and type for situations in which the object is located at the 2F point and when the object is located between the 2F point and the focal point.
It should be noted that the process of constructing a ray diagram is the same regardless of where the object is located. While the result of the ray diagram (image location, size, orientation, and type) is different, the same three rays are always drawn. The three rules of refraction are applied in order to determine the location where all refracted rays appear to diverge from (which for real images, is also the location where the refracted rays intersect).