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Proceedings Paper

Freeform optics manufacturing
Author(s): Greg Matthews; James Ross; Jake Gemballa
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Paper Abstract

As optical systems get more complex and compact the use of freeform components is becoming ever more present. With their nontraditional geometry freeform optics can not only improve image quality over a greater field of view but they can also reduce the physical space requirements of the optical components in a system. On top of increased performance conformal shapes can match the shape of platform they reside on to reduce drag while still maintaining optical functionality. As the demand for these shapes increases manufacturing and metrology techniques need to be developed to achieve the specifications as well reduce the cost of fabrication. On top of those challenges the optical tolerances used for traditional optics are not always relevant or practical to an optic with a freeform prescription.

OptiPro Systems has been a pioneer in the field of optics manufacturing and freeform geometry is no exception. We have improved our existing grinding and polishing platforms to facilitate easier fabrication of optics with complex shapes and difficult materials as well created our own software packages specifically tailored to these processes. In this paper we will discuss some of the challenges associated with complex shapes and some of the techniques and technologies we use to overcome them. We will discuss some of the difficulties associated with the qualification and tolerancing of these freeform prescriptions as well as some possible solutions to reduce manufacturing costs while still fabricating effective parts. Examples these difficult shapes will be provided alongside of results and data from processing.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 October 2017
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 10448, Optifab 2017, 104482F (16 October 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2279808
Show Author Affiliations
Greg Matthews, OptiPro Systems (United States)
James Ross, OptiPro Systems (United States)
Jake Gemballa, OptiPro Systems (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10448:
Optifab 2017
Julie L. Bentley; Sebastian Stoebenau, Editor(s)

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