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A cylindrical lens contains an optical surface that has a radius in one direction and is flat in the orthogonal direction. A cylinder will have one or more cylindrical surface. Cylindrical optics are used in medical instruments, graphic arts, laser printers and semiconductor processing equipment.

Specifying Cylinders

Specifying a cylindrical optic begins with the cylinder radius and includes a tolerance for the radius (power) axis as well as the plano (zero power) axis. Irregularity and slope may also be defined. Decentration or wedge in both axes should be specified, as well as alignment of the optical axis with the mechanical axis. Plano or spherical surfaces should have tolerances similar to any plano or spherical surface.

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Manufacturing Technology

Optimax makes cylinders from optical materials such as glass, fused silica, crystals and ceramics for UV, Visible and IR applications using proprietary “grind and shine” techniques to produce low scatter surfaces. Optimax utilizes deterministic CNC machine tools for predictable removal rates and adherence to tight tolerances. To control centration, precision tools constrain the optical axis.

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Testing Cylinders

Optimax uses interferometric techniques to verify the plano axis and power axis of the optic. These techniques include plano reference flats, Distance Measuring Interferometry and CGH diffractive elements. Mechanical attributes such as wedge are verified with micrometers or by optical methods.

A CGH diffractive null converts the plane wavefront from a transmission flat to a cylindrical wavefront. This can be used to measure convex or concave surfaces. Available coverage varies greatly based on the size and shape of the cylindrical surface.


For more information on CGH nulls and an illustration of available coverage please see:

CoatingsCoating Capabilities

Our clean environment thin film coating lab has capability to coat from UV through IR wavelengths. Featuring multiple chambers with deposition sources, including electron-beam and ion assist, Optimax can offer a wide variety of coating options including BBAR, V-coat, and mirror coatings. Custom coatings are also available. Coating verification is supported by Perkin-Elmer spectrophotometers.

For more information please see Optimax’s Coatings Data Sheet.

Quality Assurance

Optimax inspects 100% of all optics. Test data is provided with prototype orders. The use of state-of-the-art metrology assures customer satisfaction.

For more information please see Optimax’s Inspection Data Options.

Fast Delivery

Optimax manufactures a wide variety of optical components. When on-time delivery is crucial, Optimax offers an expedited delivery option with a money back guarantee.

For more information please see the information on Optimax’s On-Time Guarantee.

Future Capabilities

Optimax’s R&D department is continously 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:

  • New optical material processing
  • Higher laser damage threshold surfaces

For more information please see Optimax Innovation or contact