Optical EngineeringProcess optimization in optical fabrication
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Predictable and stable fabrication processes are essential for reliable cost and quality management in optical fabrication technology. This paper reports on strategies to generate and control optimum sets of process parameters for, e.g., subaperture polishing of small optics (featuring clear apertures smaller than 2 mm). Emphasis is placed on distinguishing between machine and process optimization, demonstrating that it is possible to set up the ductile mode grinding process by means other than controlling critical depth of cut. Finally, a recently developed in situ testing technique is applied to monitor surface quality on-machine while abrasively working the surface under test enabling an online optimization of polishing processes eventually minimizing polishing time and fabrication cost.