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Art of Aspheres

We’ll walk you through the process, and invite you to visit the Resource Library for technical resources at every step.

Prism Specification
Prism Manufacturing
Prism Testing
Prism Coatings
Prism Delivery
Prism Future

Customers trust Optimax to create high-quality optics and deliver them fast, and our custom aspheres are no exception. Designing with aspheres reduces the size and weight of your system. Optimax produces aspheres from glass, fused silica, crystals and ceramics for UV, Visible and IR applications using proprietary “grind and shine” techniques for low scatter surfaces.

Optimax Asphere Lens Manufacturing Capabilities

Aspheres have one or more optical surfaces of non-constant curvature. They have a wide range of applications and are used to manage aberrations inherent to spherical lens systems, and to reduce system size and weight. Aspheric lenses have enabled a leap forward in capabilities for medical devices and defense and security.

Manufacturing and metrology of complex aspheres is an emerging science for optical fabricators: Optimax leads the way in our investment in cutting edge equipment and testing, research and training, and track record of performance on customer programs.

Optimax Tools

Manufacturing Tolerance Chart
Test Plate Library
Preferred Glass List
Aerospace Glass List

Specifying Aspheres

Specifying an asphere begins with a custom aspheric form, often fit to the Forbes Q Polynomial (Figure 1) or the Even Aspheric Equation (Figure 2). Describing form involves specifying Vertex Radius (I/C). Conic Constant (k) and applicable Aspheric Coefficients (a). Including a Sag Table (Figure 3) provides reference information to check correct data entry for each manufacturing or metrology tool used.

Optimax places tolerances on vertex radius and form error, without tolerances on conic constant or aspheric coefficients. Even aspheric coefficients are preferred.

Need to spec or quote an asphere? Contact us or browse our technical resources:

Forbes Q Polynomial

Asphere Chart Form 1

Figure 1

Even Aspheric Equation

Forbes Q Polynomial

Figure 2

Sag Table

Asphere Chart Form3

Figure 2

Manufacturing Aspheres

Looking for the most advanced manufacturing and metrology technology in North America? Optimax utilizes deterministic CNC machine tools for predictable removal rates and adherence to tight tolerances. To control centration, precision tools maintain the optical axis.

Need to spec or quote an asphere? Contact us or browse our technical resources:

Asphere Limits

Asphere Limits
This is a graphical description of some of the terms used below.

General Comments on Manufacturing Limits

  • This represents a general list of soft limits and is intended for reference only.
  • As requirements move closer to a min or max shown the more challenging the part will be.
  • Certain combinations may not be possible – Choosing Max Sag and Min Diameter on concave surfaces for example.
  • Interferometric testing of aspheres is extremely case specific. The slower the onset of departure, the more likely interferometric testing is possible.
  • During manufacturing the lens is oversized in diameter. Be aware, forms well behaved within clear aperture may turn exotic or undefined just beyond final diameter.

Manufacturing Limits for Aspheric Surfaces

Based on Form Error Tolerance

Form Error > 2μm Lower Resolution Profilometry (2-D)1
Attribute
Minimum
Maximum
Diameter (mm) 3 250
Local Radius (mm) -8 (Concave)
Sag (mm) 0 502
Departure (mm) 0.01 20
Included Angle (°) 0 120
Form Error 0.5 – 2μm Higher Resolution Profilometry (2-D)1
Attribute
Minimum
Maximum
Diameter (mm)3 3 250
Local Radius (mm) -12 (Concave)
Sag (mm) 0 252
Departure (mm) 0.01 20
Included Angle (°) 0 150
Form Error < 0.5μm Interferometry with Stitching (3-D)
Attribute
Minimum
Maximum
Diameter (mm)3 3 250
Local Radius (mm) -13 (Concave)
Sag (mm) 0 252,4
Departure (mm) 0.002 1
Included Angle (°) 0 120+5
1Typical metrology is Zygo MetroPro plots for interferometry
2For concave surfaces the maximum may be smaller, limited by tool clearance first. Short radii have lower maximums
3Larger diameters can be accommodated using multiscan fusion
4Total sag allowed is a function of diameter, determined by fringe resolution of the interferometer
5Very basic forms (paraboloid, ellipsoid) can have higher included angles

Thin Film Coating Manufacturing Limits

Coating Capabilities
Attribute
Minimum
Maximum
Diameter 3mm 500mm
Wavelength 193nm 6000nm
Use Environment Vacuum >95% RH
Durability Moderate abrasion Severe abrasion
Measurement 68°, s, p, average polarization
Laser Damage Threshold 1064nm: >30J/cm2@10ns, >1MW/cm2CW
Layers 1 200
* Soft Tolerancing Units **Stitching/CGH dependent

General Comments on Manufacturing Limits

  • This represents a general list of soft limits and is intended for reference only.
  • As requirements move closer to a min or max shown fabrication becomes more difficult.
  • Certain combinations are unattainable, e.g. 3mm convex radius with 100mm length.
  • Certain configurations add significant fixturing costs, e.g. crossed axis cylinders, cylinders/spheres.
  • Interferometric testing of cylinders is somewhat case specific. Aperture coverage is often limited by the range of diffractive nulls available.
  • Length is always the dimension along the plano axis and width is the dimension across the power axis.

Manufacturing Limits for Cylindrical Surfaces Based on Manufacturing Method

Rod or Arbor
Attribute
Minimum
Maximum
Length (mm) 3 5001
Width (mm) Radius dependent 2 < 2x Radius
Cylinder Radius (mm) – Convex Only 2 150
X-Y
Attribute Minimum Maximum
Length (mm) 3 300
Width (mm) 2 300
Cylinder Radius (mm) 10
Concave sag to flat (mm) 0.1002 =Radius
1This is at minimum radius and width. The part-specific minimum will grow in proportion to radius.
2Flat surfaces lead to scratching problems and polisher contact issues. For both practical and economic reasons consider plano here.

Manufacturing Limits for Freeform Surfaces

Attribute
 Tolerancing Limit*
Diameter (mm) +0, -0.010
Center Thickness (mm) ± 0.050
Irregularity – Interferometry
(HeNe fringes)
0.1**
 Irregularity – Profilometry (μm)  ±1.0
 Wedge Lens – ETD (mm)
 TBD
 Surface Roughness (Å RMS)  10
* Soft Tolerancing Units **Stitching/CGH dependent

General Comments on Manufacturing Limits

    • This represents a general list of soft limits and is intended for reference only.
    • As requirements move closer to a min or max shown, the more challenging the part will be.

Manufacturing Limits for
Prism Surfaces

Attribute
Minimum
Maximum
Diameter (mm) 3 300
Thickness 1 150
Aspect Ratio1 1 502
1Diameter divided by thickness
2This represents highest values obtained. When at maximum other minimums (irregularity) may not be possible. Will be smaller with less well behaved materials.

General Comments on Manufacturing Limits

  • This represents a general list of soft limits and is intended for reference only.
  • As requirements move closer to a min or max shown, the more challenging the part will be.
  • During manufacturing, the lens is over-sized in diameter.

Manufacturing Limits for Spherical Surfaces

Based on Form Error Tolerance

Attribute
Minimum
Maximum
Diameter (mm) 3 400
Radius (mm) ±1 2
Aspect Ratio (Diameter/Center Thickness) <1:1 30:1
Included Angle (°) 0 2103
1Limited by machine envelope
2Metrology dependent. Avoid 3-10 meter radii when possible, choosing to stay plano instead. It will be less expensive too.
3This represents highest values possible. Actual value possible depends on finished and metrology options available plus tolerance range available for a given part.

Asphere Tolerancing Limits

General Comments on Tolerancing Limits

  • This represents a general list of soft limits and is intended for reference only.
  • Reducing tolerance range increases costs.
  • Optimax advises a close consideration of budget (tolerance, delivery or dollar) versus need be made prior to choosing any value below.
  • Robust sensitivity analyses will help yield the most cost-effective tolerancing.

Tolerancing Limits for Aspheric Surfaces

Attribute
Asphere Tolerancing Limit
Glass Quality (nd, vd) Melt Rebalanced and Controlled
Diameter (mm) +0, -0.010
Center Thickness (mm)6 ± 0.010 
Sag – Concave (mm)  ± 0.010 
Clear Aperture  100%7
Vertex Radius8 ± 0.1% or 3 HeNe fringes9
Irregularity – Interferometry (HeNe fringes)10 0.111
Irregularity – Profilometry (μm)10 ± 0.5 
Wedge Lens – ETD (mm)  0.00212
Bevels – Face Width @ 45° (mm)13 ± 0.05 
Scratch – Dig (MIL-PRF-13830B)14 10 – 5 
Surface Roughness (Å RMS)15 10 
6This is for the most well behaved materials. More difficult materials (CaF2, Ohara S-FPL, etc) will need larger tolerance ranges
7Of full aperture (FA)
8In addition to irregularity
9Whichever is correspondingly larger over the clear aperture
10A vertex radius tolerance is required in addition to irregularity
11As geometry requirements move closer to a min or max shown the less likely this is possible
12This specification is extremely tight and expensive. For a more economical limit, please consider using 0.005mm.
13Subject to measurement uncertainty
14Crystals and reflective materials will receive 40W inspection
15This represents lowest values obtained. Actual values for crystalline, especially polycrystalline materials, will be higher.

General Comments on Tolerancing Limits

  • This represents a general list of soft limits and is intended for reference only.
  • Reducing tolerance range increases costs.
  • Robust sensitivity analyses will help yield the most cost-effective tolerancing.

Tolerancing Limits for Cylinder Surfaces

Attribute
Cylinder Tolerancing Limit
Glass Quality (nd, vd) Melt Rebalanced and Controlled
Length and width (mm) +0, -0.020
Center Thickness (mm)3 ± 0.020 
Sag – Concave (mm)  ± 0.020 
Clear Aperture  100%4
Radius5 ± 0.1% or 3 HeNe fringes6
Irregularity – Interferometry (HeNe fringes)7 0.18
Irregularity – Profilometry (μm)  ± 0.5 
Plano Axis Wedge – ETD (mm)  0.00512
Cylinder Axis Decentration – TIR (mm)9 0.01010
Axial Twist Angle (arcminutes)  3 
Bevels – Face Width @ 45° (mm)11 0/0mm max
Scratch – Dig (MIL-PRF-13830B)12 10 – 5 
Surface Roughness (Å RMS)13 5 
3This is for the most well behaved materials. More difficult materials (CaF2, Ohara S-FPL, etc.) will need larger tolerance ranges.
4Of full aperture (FA).
5In addition to irregularity.
6Whichever is correspondingly larger over the clear aperture.
7Typical metrology is Zygo MetroPro plots for interferometry.
8As geometry requirements move closer to a min or max shown the less likely this is possible.
9Optimax measures total indicated runout (TIR) as part is rotated. Actual decentration varies with focal length.
10This specification is extremely tight and expensive. For a more economical limit, please consider using 0.0100mm.
11Subject to measurement uncertainty.
12Crystals and reflective materials will receive 40W inspection.
13This represents lowest values obtained. Actual values for crystalline, especially polycrystalline materials, will be higher.

General Comments on Tolerancing Limits

  • This represents a general list of soft limits and is intended for reference only.
  • Reducing tolerance range increases costs.
  • Robust sensitivity analyses will help yield the most cost-effective tolerancing.

Tolerancing Limits for Prism Surfaces

Attribute
Prism Tolerancing Limit
Glass Quality (nd, vd) Melt Rebalanced and Controlled
Diameter (mm) +0, -0.010
Center Thickness (mm)3 ± 0.010 
Sag – Concave (mm)  ± 0.010 
Clear Aperture  100%4
Power5 0.1 HeNe fringes6
Irregularity – Interferometry (HeNe fringes)7 0.18
Wedge Prism (window) – ETD (mm)9 0.00210
Bevels – Face Width @ 45° (mm)11 sharp 
Scratch – Dig (MIL-PRF-13830B)12 10 – 5 
Surface Roughness (Å RMS)13 4
3This is for the most well behaved materials. More difficult materials (CaF2, Ohara S-FPL, etc.) will need larger tolerance ranges.
4Of full aperture (FA)
5In addition to irregularity
6This represents lowest values obtained. Will grow with diameter. Will be larger with less well-behaved materials.
7Typical metrology is Zygo MetroPro plot for interferometry.
8This represents lowest values obtained. Will grow with diameter. Will be larger with less well-behaved materials.
9Also known as parallelism or pyramidal error in prism manufacture.
10Tighter specification is possible but can be extremely expensive. For a more economical limit, please consider using 0.005mm.
11Subject to measurement uncertainty
12Crystals and reflective materials will receive 40W inspection
13This represents lowest values obtained. Actual values for crystalline materials, especially polycrystalline, will be higher.

General Comments on Tolerancing Limits

  • This represents a general list of soft limits and is intended for reference only.
  • Reducing tolerance range increases costs.
  • Optimax advises a close consideration of budget (tolerance, delivery or dollar) versus need be made prior to choosing any value below.
  • Robust sensitivity analyses will help yield the most cost effective tolerancing.

Tolerancing Limits for Spherical Surfaces

Attribute
Sphere Tolerancing Limit
Glass Quality (nd, vd) Melt Rebalanced and Controlled
Diameter (mm) +0, -0.010
Center Thickness (mm)4 ± 0.020 
Sag – Concave (mm)  ± 0.010 
Clear Aperture  100%5
Radius (mm)6 ± 0.0025 or 1 HeNe fringe7
Irregularity (HeNe fringes)8 0.059
Wedge Lens – ETD (mm)  0.00210
Bevels – Face Width @ 45° (mm)  ± 0.0511
Scratch – Dig (MIL-PRF-13830B)12 <10 – 5 
Surface Roughness (Å RMS)  313,14
4This is for the most well behaved materials. More difficult materials (CaF2, Ohara S-FPL, etc.) will need larger tolerances ranges.
5Of full aperture (FA)
6In addition to irregularity
7Whichever is correspondingly larger over the clear aperture
8Coverage dependent, stitched or otherwise, and also subject to system error
9As geometry requirements move closer to a min or max shown the less likely this is possible
10This specification is extremely tight and expensive. For a more economical limit, please consider using 0.005mm.
11Subject to measurement uncertainty
12Crystals and reflective materials will receive 40W inspection
13This represents lowest values obtained. Actual values for crystalline, especially polycrystalline materials, will be higher.
14With scan length and filter appropriate for the selected spatial period.

Here are manufacturing limits and tolerances specific to optical aspheres, prisms, cylinders and spheres. For more detailed information on any attribute, please contact sales@optimaxsi.com.

Future Capabilities

Optimax’s R&D department is continuously looking for ways to improve our fabrication process and produce higher quality optics. Our current research projects are designed to meet future market needs, such as:

  • Conformal and freeform optics
  • Mid-spatial frequency error-free surfaces

For more information please see Optimax Innovation or contact sales@optimaxsi.com.

Technical Resources

Trials and Tribulations of optical manufacturing: asphere edition

With the ongoing advancements in aspheric manufacturing and metrology, companies have to overcome processing challenges and from time to time learn costly lessons along the way. In this paper, we will share a few stories of how aspheres have humbled us, how we overcame the problem, and provide takeaways for other manufactures and designers

Robotic polishing in asphere manufacturing

Optimax improved the reliability of asphere polishing platforms at a demonstrated level. Download our technical paper today to learn about our results

Make it like you use it

Testing and correcting the aspheric lens as it is used in transmission addresses some of the shortcomings of traditional 3D surface metrology. 

Profit through predictability: The MRF difference at Optimax

In an effort to reduce variation and improve predictability, Optimax integrated magnetorheological finishing into its aspheric lens manufacturing process. 

The sum of all errors: Technical Digest

The geometry of machines used to center lenses and to measure centering error all work in terms of the wedge case. Two important considerations are the centration of the lens and the difference in edge thickness. 

Trial and Tribulations of Optical Manufacturing: Asphere Edition

Optimax Systems, Inc., a leader in quick delivery prototype optics, has been manufacturing aspheric lenses for more than 20 years. Along the way, we have learned many lessons and provide takeaways for other manufacturers and designers

Specifying, Manufacturing and Measuring Aspheric Lens – Part I

A basic survey of specifying aspheric forms, function and manufacturing and testing

Specifying, Manufacturing and Measuring Aspheric Lenses – Part II

The similarities and differences between tolerancing, manufacturing and measuring spherical and aspheric surfaces are important

Practical Design Software Eases Asphere Manufacturability

Recent design methods and software advances make it much easier to design aspheric surfaces that actually work in production and test by considering manufacturability issues at the earliest possible stage in the design process

Asphere Manufacturing Considerations for the Designer

There are many topics to consider during aspheric lens design, including geometrical restrictions that hinder producing particular aspheric shapes. Understanding these restrictions will help drive cost. 

Aspheric glass lens modeling and machining

The evolution of the manufacturing technology for a specific aspheric glass lens can provide significant image quality improvement, reduction of the number of lens elements, smaller size, and lower weight. 

Introduction to Asphere Metrology

There are numerous metrology options for aspheres, including how they work, requirements, and what is specified with each method in an effort to tolerance aspheres

Optimax 7x D&C Top Workplaces Winner

Seven years and running, Optimax has made the list based on our employee’s feedback, of being one of Rochester’s best places to work.

Optimax CEO featured on Town of Penfield’s television show Advocating for Rochester’s Arts and Culture

Rick Plympton, Optimax CEO, discusses the importance of STEAM education and Optimax's approach to hiring.

Emerging laser applications—New demands on optics

Have you read the latest Laser Focus World article, “Emerging laser applications—New demands on optics” featuring Jessica DeGroote Nelson, Director of Technology & Strategy at Optimax

Optimax is an Essential Business – Operations Remain Open

Due to the critical role we play in Defense, Medical, and Semiconductor supply chains, Optimax is an essential business and we are fully operational. As we continue to monitor and react to the situation, the health and well-being of our employees, customers, vendors, and community members remain the top priority. We have implemented health and safety policies to do our part in limiting the spread of the virus while remaining dedicated to supporting our customers during this challenging time. We are all in this together

Business Leadership in the Age of Aquarius

In the manufacturing workforce today, most employees are trained or educated to perform complex tasks and/or problem-solving. Some of the best improvements are developed by technicians and engineers on the production floor. That’s why there is a case to be made to create profit sharing to reward all employees for the value they create

Optics & Photonics Technician Shortage

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics,  is partnering with the photonics industry and local academia to solve the optics & photonics technician shortage

EPIC Meeting on Freeform Optics at Optimax

EPIC Meeting on Freeform Optics has been postponed to March 2021.  The meeting will be held here at Optimax from March 17th-18th. 

Optimax tour
Optimax receives grant for Workforce Development

New York State Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was in town on Monday, February 24th, to celebrate the funding and announce multiple grant award winners from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Workforce Development Initiative

MIT Sloan School of Management is using Optimax as a case study

MIT created a case study on Optimax Systems, Inc.’s innovative management philosophy built on three key pillars; and a discussion on the ways participants can bring their ideas to fruition around the creation of a new social contract. Learn more below. 

A Lens on New Technology in Manufacturing: Optimax

For some manufacturing workers, AI-based technologies are a greater benefit than a threat, and the bigger issue is managing constant change in the work environments and responsibilities. Learn More

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon visits Optimax

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon visited Optimax as part of National Apprenticeship Week

Advances in Optical Systems: Laser mirror design tradeoffs impact optical system performance

Have you read the latest Laser Focus World article on how laser mirror design tradeoffs impact optical system performance? Check it out today!

Optimax ranked 47 among the Top 100 Companies in Rochester, NY

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG LLP ranked Optimax 47 among the Top 100 Companies in Rochester, NY. Check out the other great Rochester companies that made the list this year!

RBJ Technology & Manufacturing Workforce Development Award

Optimax received the Rochester Business Journal Technology & Manufacturing Workforce Development Award. The Rochester Technology & Manufacturing Awards recognizes and honors organizations and individuals who lead the manufacturing industry in our area. #ROC #manufacturing #workforcedevelopment

Corey Manahan-Millennials in Manufacturing Award Recipient

In 2019, Fuzehub, the statewide New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership center, launched the Millennials in Manufacturing Awards to celebrate young professionals who are doing their part to strengthen New York State’s manufacturing industry

Rick Plympton, Job Quality Fellow

Optimax’s mission of ensuring customer success and employee prosperity drives its job quality approach, including good benefits, profit sharing, and continuous learning. “We feel a responsibility to create opportunities where people can come to work, earn a good living, and pursue their career goals,” says Rick Plympton, CEO of Optimax. “By doing that, we’re nothttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/rick-plympton-job-quality-fellow/

Optimax Open House

Join us for an open house celebration of our newly expanded 120,000 sq. ft. facility on Monday, October 14th. Festivities kick off at 4 PM and go till around 7 PM. The open house party is open to all Optifab attendees and invited guests. Register today!

Science on the Edge

Jessica DeGroote Nelson, Director of Technology and Strategy at Optimax, will be presenting “Science on the Edge- Turning the Science Fiction of Today into Tomorrow’s Science Fact through Innovations in Optics” on Thursday, October 3rd at the Rochester Museum Science Center

Clear Path To A Bright Future: High School Grad To Optimax Apprentice

American Apprenticeship Initiative of Western New York featured Optimax and our newest Apprentice Noah in its latest August Newsletter

Zemax Webinar-Technologies and Techniques for Optical Fabrication

Understanding how optical components are manufactured is essential to creating the high-performance and cost-effective optical systems today’s customers demand. Here’s your opportunity to learn the latest methods and procedures in fabrication and testing technology from an industry-leading expert in optical fabrication

High-Energy Lasers: Laser Focus World

Is a boom ahead for high-energy lasers on the battlefield?

Jessica DeGroote Nelson-Chair of Optical Fabrication and Testing Topical Meeting

Jessica DeGroote Nelson, Director of Technology & Strategy at Optimax, is chairing the 2019 Optical Fabrication and Testing Topical Meeting (OF&T). This meeting will emphasize new ideas, concepts, and emerging applications in optics manufacturing and metrology

Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award

Yesterday, Rick and Mike received the Herbert W. Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award. This award is given out by RIT’s Saunders College of Business to an individual or business that has improved the economic life of Greater Rochester or whose innovation management skills have changed the course of an existing business

Optimax Wins Two Wealth of Health Awards

On June 4th, Optimax received two Wealth of Health awards in the categories of Employer of the Year in the category of 200-499 employees as well as Rookie of the Year, recognizing companies participating in the Wealth of Health Awards Program for the first time

#FacesofPhotonics: Optimax Director of Technology and Strategy, Jessica DeGroote Nelson

On May 21st, Jessica DeGroote Nelson, Optimax’s Director of Technology and Strategy,  will be teaching Optical Materials, Fabrication, and Testing for the Optical Engineer at this year’s SPIE Optics + Photonics in San Diego

Optimax 6x D&C Top Workplaces Winner

Six years and running, Optimax has made the list based on our employee’s feedback, of being one of Rochester’s best places to work

FAME’s 2019 STAR Award to Jim VanKouwenberg

Jim VanKouwenberg, Optimax’s Workforce Development Coordinator, won the 2019 FAME STAR Award. This award recognizes students, teachers, and advanced manufacturing relationships in pursuit of FAME’s goal to promote awareness of advanced manufacturing careers in the pipeline

The Optimax Story

On Tuesday, March 12th, Bruce Peters of Beyond Teal interviewed Optimax CEO, Rick Plympton and facilitated a panel discussion with members of the Optimax team

Joshua Dennie, Manufacturing Manager
RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering Emerging Leader Award

Optimax's Manufacturing Manager, Joshua Dennie is awarded RIT's Kate Gleason College of Engineering Emerging Leader Award for 2019. This award recognizes recent alumni who have distinguished themselves beyond others by living out the KGCOE mission and making an important contribution to their profession or community.

The Dawn of New Optics: Emerging Metamaterials

Photonics Media describes how next-generation materials and new computational and fabrication techniques are reshaping how we think about optics. The Photonics Media article features Jessica Nelson, Director of Technology & Strategy at Optimax Systems, who describes the challenges with obtaining materials with properties that are not available.

Optimax is featured in the all-new Edge Factor short film, Optical Illumination

Optimax is featured in the all-new Edge Factor short film, Optical Illumination. The film showcases the optics industry and hopes to inspire students and parents to use their hands, minds, and technology to build the future

Optician at Optimax: Being a Maker

Genny Kingsley tried a variety of jobs out of high school after getting an art degree. Nothing felt right until she started her optician training at Optimax. She takes joy in being a maker and continuing to learn new things. She has options for apprenticeship, on the job training and higher education. She advises that someone could do well in her job out of high school with on the job training to further her career. She loves being creative and the hands-on nature of making products that have value. Learn more

Precision Optics Manufacturing Apprentice at Optimax

Travis Montgomery started working part time at Optimax while going to a BOCES program in high school. He didn’t plan on going to college, but when Optimax had a program that would pay for his higher education degree, he decided to take advantage of working and going to school full-time. He is an apprentice in the precision optics manufacturing sector

Training for the Optics Field at Community College

Jake Thurston likes working with both hand tools and sophisticated equipment in his work in the optics field. He has always liked to design and innovate. He took programs at Monroe Community College that gave him the right skills for a job as an optician, but he thinks people with a variety of job skills in applied sciences, technology or the trades can be good candidates for the optics sector. He works at Optimax as an optician.

The Customer is Still King

Optimax Featured in Forbes. Read below about our philosophy in enabling customer success and ensuring employee prosperity

From the Finger Lakes to Outer Space, Optimax is Changing How We Live and See the World

Optimax, a company that started in a barn in Webster, New York has grown to become the nation’s largest optical components manufacturer. And it’s getting even bigger

Optimax featured in the 2018 Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE) December Newsletter

Read below the GRE newsletter on how we are committed to growing the Greater Rochester, NY optics industry.

A Biophotonics Revolution

In a recent Photonics Media article, Alexis K.S. Vogt writes about the Biophotonics Revolution and highlights Optimax’s decisions to hire artists, musicians, gamers, and even chefs, because those individuals already possess good hand-eye coordination.

Can you believe it?

Can you believe that it has been two months since we officially broke ground on our new facility expansion? We have some updates for you! Check out our expansion page!

Aspen Institute Job Quality Fellowship

Rick Plympton was honored to be selected to join the Aspen Institutes Job Quality Fellowship for the 2018-2019 class

National Apprenticeship Week

It’s National Apprenticeship Week and our very own apprentices are being recognized by the American Apprentice Initiative of WNY, United Way Buffalo and Erie Counties

Rochester Chamber Top 100

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG LLP ranked Optimax 36 among the Top 100 Companies in Rochester, NY.

SBC Business Person of the Year Finalist

Rick Plympton and Mike Mandina have been nominated as finalists for the Rochester Small Business Council Business Person of the Year Award

2018 Technology & Manufacturing Awards

This month, Optimax received a 2018 Technology & Manufacturing Award. The Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Awards recognizes and honors organizations and individuals who lead the manufacturing industry in our area.

Read more about the award and the event below

Rochester Business Hall of Fame

Rick Plympton and Mike Mandina inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame. Watch what makes their story a homegrown success

2018 Rochester Business Hall of Fame

The Rochester Business Hall of Fame celebrated its induction of five local business heavyweights this week, including a sweetener manufacturer and the leaders of an breakout optics company

RRPC Education Award-Michael Pomerantz

The RRPC Education Award is given each year to an individual for inspiring students to embrace Optics, Photonics, and Imaging sciences and guiding them in career development. The Education Award recipient for 2018 is Michael Pomerantz.

2018 Rochester Business Hall of Fame Inductees – Mike Mandina & Rick Plympton

Learn how the duo have turned a small optics company that started in a barn into a 350+ enterprise.    

Optimax Expands Facility

Optimax, the largest prototype high precision optics manufacturer in the United States, broke ground on a 60,000 sq. ft. expansion

Optimax Groundbreaking Ceremony

The largest precision optics manufacturer in the nation is expanding. Click the links below to read about our expansion and ceremony.

You could makes lenses for NASA too

In the latest News 8 #WhyROC segment, Optimax shares what is driving their success as a key high-precision optics manufacturer. 

Students take part in Summer Manufacturing Program

The Summer Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering program allows for students in eighth, ninth and tenth grade to experience first-hand advanced manufacturing skills, while earning three free college credits through Monroe Community College

Building the Next-Generation Optics Workforce

As featured in Photonics Media,  Optimax’s apprentice program enables a budding optics technician to spend a month working in different manufacturing areas across the company and to take optical systems technology courses at MCC. 

Lights, Camera, Action! 

The Agency, a new pilot episode,  features Optimax’s facility and a few employees in the first 45 seconds.
Watch below!

Optimax Facility Expansion

Optimax will construct a $21.7 million, 60,000 square-foot addition at its existing facility on Dean Parkway. As a result of its continued growth, Optimax plans to create up to 60 new jobs over the next five years

MCC Opening Doors Campaign features Optimax’s Tsion Teklemarim

Tsion Teklemarim works at Optimax as an Optical Technician. Tsion graduated from MCC in 2016. She is featured in the new MCC Opening Doors campaign

Rochester Business Hall of Fame to Induct Five

Several area business leaders will be inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame this year, joining more than 100 others whose names are synonymous with Rochester

Cornell ‘Jump-Starts’ Small Businesses Through Expert Guidance and Funding

Optimax will be working with Cornell’s Biotechnology Resource Center to develop new methods for inspecting materials used for optical devices.

Man operating a precision optic machine
How did these five-time winners make the list every year?

But how did they do it every year? “Top Workplaces” winners are based on surveys of employees, so creating a great working environment is essential. There’s no magic potion or short cut to a workplace culture that truly works. But clearly, these companies, including Optimax, and other organizations are doing something right

Optimax 5x D&C Top Workplaces Winner

Five years and running, Optimax has made the list based on our employee's feedback, of being one of Rochester's best places to work. Proud to be #5 for midsized businesses.

Aspheres: Finding the right tool: metrology for the manufacture of freeform optics

As featured in Laser Focus World: Three metrology tools for the measurement of freeform optics are compared: the coordinate measurement machine, a high-accuracy profilometer, and a noncontact optical technique called fringe reflection deflectometry

Optimax Systems: Business Logic of Continuous Learning

Becoming an Employer of Choice As part of its Job Quality Initiative, the National Fund is documenting exemplary companies in its Employer Profiles of Job Quality. This month, Optimax is the featured company

Investing in America’s Workforce

How employers create good jobs to maintain their competitive advantage The National Fund partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in June of 2017 to present a webinar on how the changing labor market is affecting two manufacturing companies and the strategies they use to design higher quality jobs, improve working conditions andhttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/investing-in-americas-workforce

RBJ Manufacturing & Technology

To recognize excellence, promote innovation, and honor the organizations and individuals who lead the manufacturing industry in our area, the Rochester Business Journal has partnered with the Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association to create the Technology and Manufacturing Awards. Honorees selected in eight categories will be profiled in a special supplement published in the fallhttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/rbj-manufacturing-technology

Where the Jobs are in Rochester

Where are the jobs in Rochester? Optics is one booming industry. How does Optimax do it? “Create an efficient, effective career training pipeline to match candidates with open area jobs

Mike Mandina Receives Executive of the Year

The inaugural Technology and Manufacturing Awardscelebrated the best and brightest in Rochester’s diverse tech landscape. Taking home the award for executive of the year was Michael Mandina, President of Optimax Systems Inc. A leading innovator in the blooming photonics industry, Mandina is a professional with an emphasis on development, growth and serving his community

Optimax Ranks #41 on Top 100

The Greater Rochester Chamber Top 100 is the annual list of the fastest-growing companies in our area. Full List of Top

RBJ Technology and Manufacturing Award – Names Finalists

  Optimax a finalist for “Manufacturing Innovation – Large Companies” and “Executive of the Year” Mike Mandina

Optimax Makes Inc. 5000 List

Inc. magazines annual ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America – Optimax at 4505. &nbsp

Breaking Through: Women in Photonics – Kate Medicus

In this episode, Kate Medicus, an R & D team leader specializing in metrology and optics manufacturing at New York-based Optimax, discusses her years of experience in the optics field. She looks back on her education and career, sharing not only her experiences but also some guidance and advice for future generations

Optimax freeform precision optic manufacturing, custom optics
“Freeform Optics: Notes from the Revolution

Check out this months OPN article featuring experts in the area, including Optimax’s Jessica DeGroote Nelson

First apprentice at Optimax to receive grant funding from the U.S. Department of Labor towards Optimax’s (POM) Apprenticeship Program

In June of 2017, Holly Hutchinson, Project Director, American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI), United Way of Buffalo & Erie County (UWBEC), presented Jeff Iorio, Optimax Apprentice, with a congratulatory gift for becoming the first apprentice at Optimax to soon receive grant funding from the U.S. Department of Labor towards Optimax’s Precision Optics Manufacturing (POM)

Optimax hiring “ready to step in” candidates

Optimax was mentioned in the Daily Messenger for seeking more potential employees with basic manufacturing skills who are ready to step into entry-level employment

Succeeding as a Community-Story of Optimax

The story of a small-town optics manufacturing firm-surviving and thriving

Optimax #4 Rochester’s Top Workplaces 2017: Mid-sized Business

Optimax’s fourth year taking spot #4 on the Rochester’s Top Workplaces

The RRPC Leadership Award

The RRPC Leadership Award recipient for 2016 is Rick Plympton, CEO of Optimax Systems, for working with fellow members and the community to promote the Rochester Region’s Optics, Photonics and Imaging Industry. Plympton is recognized for his career work with the regional and national optics, photonics and imaging industries. In his position as a board memberhttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/the-rrpc-leadership-award

Optimax culture and community, 5% pledge, tie dye
FAME 10 Year Award

In 2017 FAME celebrated its 10 year anniversary and Mike Mandina received special recognition for chairing the organization for 10 years

Inc. Hire Power Awards

Optimax was listed at No.18 on Inc. magazine’s second annual Hire Power awards for creating jobs in New York State. The awards are based on job creation figures and Optimax added more than 40 jobs in

SBA: New York State Small Business Person of the Year Award

Rick Plympton, CEO, and Mike Mandina, President, Optimax Systems were awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2012 New York State Small Business Person of the Year award. The SBA award recognizes individuals for their role in driving our nation’s economic growth as well as personal achievements and evaluates nominees based on; staying power, growth inhttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/sba-new-york-state-small-business-person-of-the-year-award

Mike Mandina President Optimax
The RRPC Entrepreneur Award

The RRPC (Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster) Entrepreneur of The Year Award is given to a member who demonstrates creativity, innovation and drive in pursuit of creating a world-leading company in the Optics and Photonics industry. Mike Mandina was the 2009 recipient of this award. Mike’s entrepreneurship started in 1976 when he started Cormac Industries withhttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/the-rrpc-entrepreneur-award

New York Business Hall of Fame

In 2008, Mike Mandina, President of Optimax, was recognized for his work with Finger Lakes Advanced Manufacturers’ Enterprise (FAME). FAME’s mission is to commit to the region’s advanced manufacturing companies and to build world-class workforce talent that has the skills, inspiration and motivation to advance the industry. Their vision is to create the most profitable andhttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/new-york-business-hall-of-fame

Business spotlight: Optimax, high-tech firm started in Webster barn

The Ontario, Wayne County, company with humble roots has averaged 25 percent growth each year since it was founded in

Local scientists, supporters plan to March for Science on Earth Day

Organizer Joey Lawson, a research and development scientist at Optimax Systems in Rochester, said it’s also important to raise awareness of the importance of continued governmental support for scientific research

Optimax Makes Rochester Chamber Top 100

The Rochester Chamber Top 100, marking its 30th year, is a program of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG. Since 1988, each annual Top 100 has ranked the area’s private companies based on dollar and percentage revenue increases over the past three fiscal years, with a minimum of $1 million in annual saleshttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/optimax-makes-rochester-chamber-top-

Entrepreneurial event to feature Optimax leaders

RocGrowth Candids—a bimonthly gathering of local entrepreneurs to share their lessons learned—will hold an event March 1 featuring Optimax Systems Inc.’s CEO Rick Plympton and President Mike Mandina

NY Manufacturer Redesigns Regional Manufacturing Talent Pipeline

Optimax President Mike Mandina knew that this systematic workforce shortage would require a comprehensive, long-term solution for the region. Optimax was not the only manufacturer in the region grappling to find employees. &nbsp

Optimax CEO Rick Plympton Receives RRPC Leadership Award

The RRPC Leadership Award recipient for 2016 is Rick Plympton, CEO of Optimax Systems, for working with fellow members and the community to promote the Rochester Region’s Optics, Photonics and Imaging Industry. Plympton is recognized for his career work with the regional and national optics, photonics and imaging industries. In his position as a boardhttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/optimax-ceo-rick-plympton-receives-rrpc-leadership-award

Rochester area firms make Inc. 5000 list

Twenty-one local firms have made Inc. magazine’s annual Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America

Optimax Makes Inc. 5000 List

Optimax has had a three-year growth of 40% and finds itself on the list of the fastest growing companies in America

Optimax Research Grant Presented to Milster Lab

Optimax has also offered the College a $10,000 Optics Grant for Research for several years now. This grant awards a fortunate OSC Faculty research team with a $10,000 monetary credit when ordering custom-made optical components created by Optimax for the research project in their winning proposal

Photonics jobs: Preparing today for future openings

There are three things anyone in Rochester can do right now to better position themselves for a photonics job in the future

Summer Advanced Manufacturing Experience program teaches students to explore STEM opportunities

Summer Advanced Manufacturing Experience students tour Optimax Systems Inc. to learn how they can use science, technology, engineering and manufacturing skills in their careers. &nbsp

Optimax CFO Tom Kelly Wins RBJ Financial Exec of Year

Five financial executives from the business and non-profit sectors were winners Thursday at the 2016 Financial Executive of the Year Award event

College Grads: Be Ready for Job Search

  Optimax hires 20 interns for the summer, about two-thirds from colleges and a third from high schools as part of the FAME 5% pledge.   &nbsp

2018 OSA Fellow: Mike Mandina

Optimax President, Mike Mandina, was named a 2018 OSA Fellow. “For business leadership within the greater Rochester optics community and the U.S. and global optics industry, and technical leadership in the development of an innovative, high-speed polishing technique called VIBE.&#

Chicago’s DMDII Is Putting $12M Into Augmented Reality

The Rochester Institute of Technology, Harbec, Optimax, and OptiPro will make virtual shop floor instruction guides with AR, and capture data to improve future manufacturing processes

Technology for Starshot Program Could be Developed in Rochester

        Some of those catch ups could happen right here in Rochester. Photonics require optics. And when it comes to moving objects with a beam of light, Optimax is already working technology &nbsp

Strengthening Team Member Performance Through Peer Reviews

How does one make a performance review system that honor both the needs of the employee and the company? For Optimax the answer is team-based performance review.         &nbsp

GET A JOB: Finger Lakes Works does just that — works

Finger Lakes Works helped Nelson Clark, who now has a successful career working at Optimax, and David Pike, who asked a simple question “What do I have to do to get hired?” find jobs at Optimax. &nbsp

Six named for HR executive honors

Six local human resources executives will be honored at the third annual HR Executive of the Year Awards, sponsored by the Rochester affiliate of the National Human Resource Association, including Ale’ Mendoza, HR Manager, Optimax. Read More

FLCC FAME Scholarship Winner

Instrumentation and control technologies major Clay Tietjen of Penn Yan received the FAME award of $1,000. He is shown with FAME’s Rick Plympton ’83, chief executive officer of Optimax Systems, Inc., on the left, and on the right, Sam Samanta, professor of physics at

WCNY SciTech

Pluto is four and a half billion miles from Earth… but the picture you see of the planet come from just around the corner. Watch Now

Biden, officials laud photonics hub in Rochester

“You’ve gone from making Brownie cameras to lenses that are now mapping the far side of Pluto,” he told an audience of about 200 people

M&T Bank Features Optimax in New Campaign

Understanding “What’s Important” campaign for M&T bank features Optimax CFO Tom Kelly

Optimax Named a Top Workplace

    Optimax named #7 for midsize business on the D&C Rochester Top Workplaces for 2016. The third year for receiving the award, as based on our employees feedback

Photonics a Possible Solution to the Brain Drain

“It’s growing and this is a hub for the photonics community and it’s just a sign of things to come,” says Ian Ferralli, an RIT graduate and Optimax intern in an interview with 13WHAM, a local Rochester news station

Rochester’s Future Looks Brighter With Optics

Rochester will be the chosen site for a Photonics Manufacturing Institute. “A huge impact on the local economy,” said Optimax President Mike Mandina. &nbsp

Local Connection to Pluto Pictures

Until this week, no one had ever seen Pluto’s surface quite so crisp and clear, and Optimax Systems in Ontario had a hand in capturing the photos. “It’s also exciting when we can help NASA achieve their goals,” said Optimax CEO Rick Plympton

Pluto Seen Through Lenses Made in Wayne County

NASA scientists hope stunning new photos of Pluto will teach us more about how the solar system formed

Working here: Opportunities exist in optics field

And an education in optics doesn’t end when someone finds a job, as companies such as Optimax have in-house training and tuition reimbursement programs

Space Interest Stoked anew by Pluto flyby

Among those watching the Pluto flyby closely will be a group of local scientists whose work was on board when New Horizons launched in September 2005.

Presentation on Freeform optical manufacturing & testing processes

Kate Medicus, Ph.D., Metrologist speaks on Freeform optical manufacturing and testing processes for IR conformal window and domes. This talk will include an overview of current freeform manufacturing and testing processes for producing freeform surfaces

Employee Spotlight: Joe Serio

Joe Serio, Group Leader is in our Employee Spotlight

Joe currently is a group leader specializing in prototype spheres and flats. He has spent his entire career here at Optimax starting as an optician and moving his way up to team leader, Manufacturing Engineering Technologist (MET) and now a group leader

Employee Spotlight: Joseph Spilman

 Name: Joseph Spilman  Title: Sr. Business Development Manager  Role: Help leverage Optimax’s expertise by identifying new business opportunities.  Education: BS, Optics, University of Rochester  Experience: More than 10 years of engineering, sales and business development experience in the optics market.  My favorite thing to do: Mountain Biking  One thing I can’t live without: Family &https://www.optimaxsi.com/news/employee-spotlight-joseph-spilman-

Website: Optimax in Space

New interactive features describing Optimax lenses on-board NASA missions. Optimax is proud to have participated in many NASA programs; supplying high-quality imaging lenses designed for position sensing, mapping landforms, and optical analysis. Check-out our upgraded Optimax in Space webpage telling more of an interactive story of these missions and the optics on-board. Check out thehttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/website-optimax-in-space-

Optimax One of Rochester’s Top Workplaces

As voted by our employees Rochester Top Workplaces 2014 ranked Optimax ninth for midsized business. The Top Workplaces are determined solely on third party conducted employee feedback. More than 800 workplaces were invited to take part in the survey and 45 companies made the cut. Criteria includes questions like: Are people fairly paid? How goodhttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/optimax-one-of-rochesters-top-workplaces-

On the Road: SPIE Optics+Photonics

 August SPIE Optics+Photonics Hear the latest research in optical engineering and applications, solar energy, nanotechnology, and organic photonics. Optimax Featuring: HEL Coatings • World Class Damage Thresholds (pulsed/CW) • Low Absorption • Low Defect Counts Where:San Diego, California When: August 17-21 2014 Stop by and see Optimax at Booth #520   September Strategies in Biophotonicshttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/on-the-road-spie-opticsphotonics-

OEM Production Optics

Optimax is well known for prototype optical components. With our recent expansion, Optimax has capacity for full rate production. With more than 100 opticians, Optimax should be your source for high quality production optics. Three Reasons to Choose Optimax 1) Quality: system performance 2) Minimize Risk: total cost of ownership 3) Save Time: shorter deliveryhttps://www.optimaxsi.com/news/oem-production-optics-

Optics Made in USA

Why manufacturing in the United States is growing and helping our economy thrive Why does Made in USA matter? Today, it is about creating jobs to support our growing economy.Manufacturing is one of the main industries fueling the comeback. However, even today there are still many misconceptions about working in a modern day manufacturing facility.https://www.optimaxsi.com/news/optics-made-in-usa-

Local Company Gets More Answers from White House Worker Training Programs

Wayne County optics firm Optimax is an example of public-private partnership initiatives Vice President Joe Biden talked about on his visit to Rochester in February 2014.  News

Vice President Joe Biden Visits MCC

Optimax President, Mike Mandina, introduces Vice President Joe Biden at an MCC Career Event following the 2014 State of The Union about breaching the middle skills gap in the United States

Optimax Supports the National Photonics Initiative

Optimax is proud to support and help drive the National Photonics Initiative seeking to raise awareness of photonics – the application of light – and drive US funding and investment. To learn more about this initiative and help support visit the National Photonics website 

Optimax Capabilities

Expedited Optics Manufacturing & Delivery

With years of experience perfecting its Lean manufacturing processes, Optimax is uniquely qualified to offer fast, on-time deliveries.

Optimax is the world’s leading rapid delivery manufacturer of custom optical components. Since its founding, Optimax has recognized that industries and institutions need fast deliveries of high quality, precision optics and has invested more than 15 years perfecting highly reliable and effective Lean processes. To learn more about these and other Optimax innovations, please visit About Optimax.

Customers trust Optimax to reliably manufacture their most complex optics on time. In the unlikely event that an expedited delivery is late, Optimax policy is to refund any unearned premium.

When you need optics fast and right!

Optimax excels at grinding, polishing and coating precision optics quickly and reliably. We can deliver high precision optics in as little as one week.

Optimax Capabilities

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