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Proceedings Paper

An analytical study of thermal invariance of polymeric nanolayer gradient index optical components
Author(s): Howard Fein; Michael Ponting
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Paper Abstract

Specially formulated Gradient-Index polymeric optical materials offer capabilities not possible in conventional GRIN or homogenous optics. A novel technology that enables large scale processing of nanolayered polymer films into real, performance-enhancing lenses and other optical components for Defense-related optical systems is currently being employed. Polymeric nanoLayer GRIN materials (LGRIN) offer the ability to design and fabricate optics with custom gradient refractive index profiles in optical components up to 90 mm in diameter and approaching 5 cm thick. High performance achromatic singlet lenses were designed using specially developed ZEMAX design tools and exceptionally high quality lenses were fabricated from the LGRIN materials. Optical performance of LGRIN optics is shown to be significantly better than with conventional monolithic optics while also significantly reducing optical system mass, volume, and optical element count. Understanding the thermal behavior of such optical components is essential to their operational capability. An experimental study of the effects of elevated operational environments to validate the feasibility of deploying LGRIN optics into real-world operational environments was carried out. Interferometric and physical measurements of structure and optical performance of LGRIN lenses was completed over a 30° - 50°C temperature range. It is shown that nanolayered LGRIN optics and components exhibit no significant variation in optical performance with temperature as compared with commercial, homogenous acrylic optics in the designed operational thermal range.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 May 2016
PDF: 18 pages
Proc. SPIE 9822, Advanced Optics for Defense Applications: UV through LWIR, 98220X (17 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2222886
Show Author Affiliations
Howard Fein, PolymerPlus, LLC (United States)
Michael Ponting, PolymerPlus, LLC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9822:
Advanced Optics for Defense Applications: UV through LWIR
Jay N. Vizgaitis; Bjørn F. Andresen; Peter L. Marasco; Jasbinder S. Sanghera; Miguel P. Snyder, Editor(s)

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