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Advanced techniques for robotic polishing of aluminum mirrors
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Paper Abstract

Aluminum (pure or alloy) mirrors attract increasing interest, having Young’s Modulus and density similar to glasses. Advantage of high diffusivity offsets disadvantage of high thermal expansion coefficient and means that the mirror reaches thermal equilibrium rapidly. High ductility supports extreme light-weighting and complex machining, including fluid-cooling channels in high-energy applications, and integral interface components. Aluminum mirrors are also tolerant to vibrations and shock loads. The material is amenable to single point diamond turning (SPDT) and does not require optical coating. However, SPDT tends to produce mid-spatial frequency artefacts, which are difficult to remove, especially for aspheres and free-forms. These introduce diffraction effects and compromise stray light performance. In our previous research, we have demonstrated the potential of industrial robots to automate manual interventions with CNC polishing machines, and to provide surface-processing capabilities in their own right. We have also presented research concerning the mismatch between rigid and semi-rigid tools (including non-Newtonian tools), and aspheric surfaces. In this paper, we report on polishing of spherical and aspheric aluminum mirrors using an industrial robot. This includes tool-design, tool-path generation, texture control and removal of the mid-spatial frequency artefacts. We have investigated removal-rates and textures achieved, using different specialized slurries, polishing pads and special tool-paths. An effective process has been established, achieving Sa of 5nm on a 400mm square witness sample and a 490mm elliptical off-axis parabolic mirror.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 June 2018
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 10692, Optical Fabrication, Testing, and Metrology VI, 106920N (15 June 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2311625
Show Author Affiliations
Hongyu Li, Univ. of Huddersfield (United Kingdom)
Harbin Institute of Technology (China)
David Walker, Univ. of Huddersfield (United Kingdom)
Univ. College London (United Kingdom)
Zeeko Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Xiao Zheng, Univ. of Huddersfield (United Kingdom)
Guoyu Yu, Univ. of Huddersfield (United Kingdom)
Christina Reynolds, Univ. of Huddersfield (United Kingdom)
Wang Zhang, Jilin Univ. (China)
Tony Li, Univ. of Huddersfield (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10692:
Optical Fabrication, Testing, and Metrology VI
Sven Schröder; Roland Geyl, Editor(s)

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