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Proceedings Paper

Guidelines for design of SuperSiC silicon carbide mirror substrates and precision components
Author(s): Ronald Plummer; Don Bray
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Paper Abstract

Silicon carbide may well be the best known material for the manufacture of high performance optical components. A combination of extremely high specific stiffness (r/E), high thermal conductivity and outstanding dimensional stability make silicon carbide superior overall to beryllium and low-expansion glass ceramics. A major impediment to wide use of a ceramic material such as silicon carbide is the ability to create a design that fully utilizes these properties while addressing limitations such as brittleness. This paper discusses an approach for design that will optimize the use of properties while considering the manufacturability of the component. POCO has developed a manufacturing process that lends itself to efficient design of complex optical components. The manufacturing process described here-in begins by machining the component from a special type of graphite. This graphite is easily machined with multi-axis CNC machine tools to any level of complexity and lightweighting required. The graphite is then converted completely to silicon carbide with very small and very predictable dimensional change. After conversion to silicon carbide the optical surface is coated with very fine grain silicon carbide which is easily polished to extreme smoothness using conventional optical polishing techniques. The design approach presented requires an iterative process between the 'system' designer and the materials and component designer. Both he fabrication process and the design approach are described in this paper.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 September 2002
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 4771, Optomechanical Design and Engineering 2002, (9 September 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.482168
Show Author Affiliations
Ronald Plummer, Poco Graphite, Inc. (United States)
Don Bray, Poco Graphite, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4771:
Optomechanical Design and Engineering 2002
Alson E. Hatheway, Editor(s)

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