High precision optical and mechanical metrology enables Optimax to adhere to tight tolerances and ensure customer satisfaction. Optimax has more than 100 highly trained opticians that measure and certify optics to customer supplied specifications. Following specific quality control standards, Optimax provides an inspection data record with each optic to ensure that it meets customer expectations.

Everyday Precision: Measurement Uncertainty

Often times, an optician’s ability to finish an optical surface is limited by metrology. Optimax has a continuous improvement program for quality assurance to identify measurement uncertainties and minimize their impact upon inspection of an optic. Conclusively measuring a lens attribute value to a known certainty establishes lens quality, which creates value for the customer. Reliable inspection data removes unknowns in optical system modeling and performance.

For more information relating to lens attributes please see:

Attribute Optimax Metrology Typical Measurement Knowledge
Diameter Micrometer ±0.002 mm to ±0.005 mm (Diameter Dependent)
Sag Drop Gauge ±0.002 mm
Radius Interferometer ±0.005%
Irregularity Interferometer ±0.05 fr
Form Error Profilometer ±0.02 μm

Manufacturing Technology

Optimax employs specialized tools to meet the most extreme metrology needs. Precision Standard Fizeau interferometers are used to measure irregularity for spherical and plano surfaces. For non-spherical surfaces, such as aspheres, Optimax utilizes surface profilers, custom interferometer setups, and stitching interferometers. Stitching interferometers measure multiple zones on the lens surface then stitch the data together mathematically to determine irregularity over the full aperture.

Example measurement from a stitching interferometer

Optimax’s new Metrology Laboratory will provide the best possible environment for precision measurements. The facility, with extreme vibration isolation and temperature control, is intended for measurement of high precision optical components to accuracies better than 50th wave.

In addition, specialized software tools that measure irregularity for comparison to a Zernike fit specification are available to optical designers for measurement analysis.

ISS Rings

Data & Filetypes Optimax Provides

These are filetypes that Optimax can send electronically or upload to a shared FTP site:
  • MetroPro-.dat file
  • MetroPro-.int file
  • Adobe-.pdf file
  • Microsoft-.xls file
  • Microsoft-.doc file
  • Taylor Hobson-.mod file
  • Taylor Hobson-.prf file

Future Capabilities

Our R&D team is continuously working on independent projects and with the shop floor to improve our metrology capabilities. We are identifying and working to reduce the uncertainties in our measurements. In addition, our R&D team is working on software tools to better identify specific surface errors. We hope that this work can help our customers in specifying surfaces and our opticians in manufacturing surfaces.

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

Technical Resources

Round-robin measurements of the toroidal window

Freeform surfaces are quickly becoming a desired and necessary shape for many refractive and reflective optical systems. In this paper, we will discuss the round-robin study of surface irregularity measurements of a freeform toroidal window.

Leveraging 3D Printing to Streamline Precision Optical Manufacturing

Optimax uses a variety of 3D printers to streamline our manufacturing processes. Download our technical paper today to learn about our results. 

Design and Manufacturing Considerations for Freeform Optical Surfaces

Freeform optical systems are becoming increasingly common due to new design and manufacturing methods. We present an example compact freeform optical system and describe considerations for transfer of the prescription of freeform surfaces for fabrication.

The Manufacturing of a Multi-surface Monolithic Telescope with Freeform Surfaces

Monolithic multi-surface telescopes combined with freeform optical surfaces provide improvements in optical performance in a smaller footprint as compared to systems with spherical surfaces, while providing superior mechanical stability to traditional telescope assemblies.

Scaling-up freeform manufacturing: challenges and solutions

This paper will present some of the challenges and solutions of extending freeform polishing capabilities from approximately 150 mm diameter parts to a component of over 500 mm in diameter.

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.

Challenges in size scale up of freeform polishing processes

This paper will discuss challenges faced as a result of scaling up our freeform polishing process from parts with approximately 150 mm diameters, to polishing components with diameters over 600 mm.

Temperature Variation of Pitch in a Pitch Pot

Opticians have for years kept polishing pitch in electrified containers called “pitch pots” that keeps it in at an elevated temperature. By insulating the top of a pitch pot, it will impact the temperature, which we will explore in this paper.

U.S. National Committee proposed revision to the ISO Laser Damage Standard

The Optics and Electro-Optics Standards Council (OEOSC) Task Force (TF) 7 has proposed a Type 1 laser damage test procedure and deemed it the most valuable in the U.S. laser market. 

The Segmented Aperture Interferometric Nulling Testbed

This work presents an overview of the Segmented Aperture Interferometric Nulling Testbed (SAINT), a project that will pair an actively-controlled macro-scale segmented mirror with the Visible Nulling Coronagraph (VNC). 

Design Guidelines for Predicting Stress in Cemented Doublets

This explores quick predictive methods for calculating potentially risky stresses in cemented doublets underdoing temperature change that agrees well with finite element analysis. It also provides guidelines for avoiding stress concentrations.

Statistical distributions from Lens Manufacturing Data

Optical designers assume a mathematically derived statistical distribution of the relevant design parameters. Presented are measured distributions using lens manufacturing data to better inform the decision-making process.

Techniques for Analyzing Lens Manufacturing Data

Optical designers assume a mathematically derived statistical distribution of the relevant design parameters. However, there may be significant differences between the assumed distributions and the likely outcomes from manufacturing. 

Rapid Optical Manufacturing of Hard Ceramic Windows and Domes

Hard ceramic conformal windows and domes provide challenges to the optical fabricator. Creative optical fabrication techniques, including VIBE™, help produce these types of optics cost-effectively.

Cost Effective Fabrication Method for Large Sapphire Sensor Windows

Sapphire poses very difficult challenges to optical manufacturers due to its high hardness and anisotropic properties. These challenges can result in long lead times and high prices. Optimax is developing a high speed, cost effective process to produce such windows. 

Thermal instability of BK7 and how it affects the manufacturing of large high precision surfaces

When manufacturing precision optical surfaces of relatively larger sizes it is critical to understand the thermal stability of the substrate material. The material properties associated with thermal homogenization are commonly reviewed and soak schedules are created. 

Reduced cost and Improved Figure of Sapphire Optical Components

Optimax has developed a fabrication process that not only reduces cost but also aids in producing spherical sapphire components to better figure quality. 

Current use and potential of additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has become widely used in recent years for the creation of both prototype and end-use parts. The flexibility is unparalleled and has opened the design space to enable features like undercuts and internal channels. 

Incorporating VIBE into precision optics manufacturing process

The VIBE™ process is a full-aperture, conformal polishing process that has the potential to be introduced in areas of today's modern optics manufacturing process.

Evolving rocket optics applications drive manufacturing advances

Improvements to sensing hardware and image processing for airborne optical systems have inspired designers to propose new optics and windows to be: more precise, conformal/freeform and multi-functional. 

Early Considerations to Aid Later Manufacturing

With so many types of optical components, there are many considerations early in the manufacturing process that can save resources.

Magnetorheological Fluid Template Mechanical Chemical Effects

Optimax developed a new magnetorheological (MR) fluid for studying the relative contributions of mechanics and chemistry in polishing hard materials. 

Transmission spheres more than just a reference surface

The importance of understanding the design and use of Fizeau transmission spheres for an accurate evaluation of surface irregularities cannot be understated.

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.

Optical Systems: Transmissive high-energy laser optics

There are many decisions to make when designing, specifying, manufacturing, and testing optical components for high-energy laser systems — each is a potential failure mechanism that must be understood and controlled.

The Cost of Tolerancing

The cost of lenses is strongly dependent on the difference between the specified tolerances and the limits of the optics manufacturer, the coater, and the metrologist. 

Manufacturability study of CLEARCERAM® (T008) compared to other low CTE materials

CLEARCERAM® was developed in an attempt to reduce the thermal expansion and approach a true zero expansion material. This improves grinding and polishing rates by 39%.

Specification and Control of Mid-Spatial Frequency Wavefront Errors in Optical Systems

This paper is an introduction to the specification and tolerancing of Mid-spatial frequency (MSF) ripple or waviness.

Vibe: A New Process for High Speed Polishing of Optical Elements

The concept for polishing optical elements with a process called VIBE is presented, application to non uniformly sloped optics such as aspheric shapes is detailed, and initial results on spherical surfaces are presented.

Round Robin Testing of the Optimax Optidome

OptiDomes act as a standard for metrology testing of various testing methods for measuring the surface quality, mechanical attributes and/or the transmitted wave-front error of hemispherical/spherical domes.

Advances in ALON™ Optical Component Fabrication

Aluminum oxynitride (ALON™) spans from the UV to the IR and has excellent ballistic characteristics and is used to improve quality in manufacturing. 

Increased UV transmission by improving the manufacturing process for FS

With increasing demand for deep UV applications, special considerations must be taken to produce the optics. Specifically, as the wavelength of incident light decreases, the importance of smooth surfaces increases. 

Varying electro-kinetic interactions to achieve… on ZnS

A conventional study was conducted with infrared material zinc sulfide with the goal of producing defect-free polished surfaces in a predictable amount of time.