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Proceedings Paper

Fabrication challenges associated with conformal optics
Author(s): John Schaefer; Richard A. Eichholtz; Frank C. Sulzbach
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Paper Abstract

A conformal optic is typically an optical window that conforms smoothly to the external shape of a system platform to improve aerodynamics. Conformal optics can be on-axis, such as an ogive missile dome, or off-axis, such as in a free form airplane wing. A common example of conformal optics is the automotive head light window that conforms to the body of the car aerodynamics and aesthetics. The unusual shape of conformal optics creates tremendous challenges for design, manufacturing, and testing. This paper will discuss fabrication methods that have been successfully demonstrated to produce conformal missile domes and associated wavefront corrector elements. It will identify challenges foreseen with more complex free-form configurations. Work presented in this paper was directed by the Precision Conformal Optics Consortium (PCOT). PCOT is comprised of both industrial and academic members who teamed to develop and demonstrate conformal optical systems suitable for insertion into future military programs. The consortium was funded under DARPA agreement number MDA972-96-9-08000.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 September 2001
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4375, Window and Dome Technologies and Materials VII, (7 September 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.439168
Show Author Affiliations
John Schaefer, Raytheon Co. and Elcan-Texas Optical Technologies (United States)
Richard A. Eichholtz, Raytheon Co. and Elcan-Texas Optical Technologies (United States)
Frank C. Sulzbach, Raytheon Co. and Elcan-Texas Optical Technologies (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4375:
Window and Dome Technologies and Materials VII
Randal W. Tustison, Editor(s)

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