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Proceedings Paper

Reduced cost and improved figure of sapphire optical components
Author(s): Mark Walters; Kevin Bartlett; Matthew R. Brophy; Jessica DeGroote Nelson; Kate Medicus
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Paper Abstract

Sapphire presents many challenges to optical manufacturers due to its high hardness and anisotropic properties. Long lead times and high prices are the typical result of such challenges. The cost of even a simple 'grind and shine' process can be prohibitive. The high precision surfaces required by optical sensor applications further exacerbate the challenge of processing sapphire thereby increasing cost further. Optimax has demonstrated a production process for such windows that delivers over 50% time reduction as compared to traditional manufacturing processes for sapphire, while producing windows with less than 1/5 wave rms figure error.

Optimax's sapphire production process achieves significant improvement in cost by implementation of a controlled grinding process to present the best possible surface to the polishing equipment. Following the grinding process is a polishing process taking advantage of chemical interactions between slurry and substrate to deliver excellent removal rates and surface finish. Through experiments, the mechanics of the polishing process were also optimized to produce excellent optical figure. In addition to reducing the cost of producing large sapphire sensor windows, the grinding and polishing technology Optimax has developed aids in producing spherical sapphire components to better figure quality.

In addition to reducing the cost of producing large sapphire sensor windows, the grinding and polishing technology Optimax has developed aids in producing spherical sapphire components to better figure quality. Through specially developed polishing slurries, the peak-to-valley figure error of spherical sapphire parts is reduced by over 80%.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 October 2015
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 9633, Optifab 2015, 96330D (11 October 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2195738
Show Author Affiliations
Mark Walters, Optimax Systems, Inc. (United States)
Kevin Bartlett, Optimax Systems, Inc. (United States)
Matthew R. Brophy, Optimax Systems, Inc. (United States)
Jessica DeGroote Nelson, Optimax Systems, Inc. (United States)
Kate Medicus, Optimax Systems, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9633:
Optifab 2015
Julie L. Bentley; Sebastian Stoebenau, Editor(s)

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