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Spheres, the most common type of optic, have at least one surface that is a segment of a ball. A spherical lens is made with a particular radius of curvature. This radius can be as short as 1mm or very long, to where plano is an infinite radius. Spheres are found in camera lenses, machine vision systems, laser beam shaping, and similar applications.

Specifying Spheres & Spherical Lenses

Specifying spheres begins with choosing an optical material. Next, the designer selects a diameter, thickness and surface radii. Finally, mechanical and optical attributes are toleranced in accordance with the designer’s performance requirements and the manufacturer’s capabilities

Reducing the range of a tolerance will add manufacturing cost. The task in selecting tolerances is to minimize cost while ensuring good optical performance. The Cost of Tolerancing gives valuable insight into optimally tolerancing optical components, written in collaboration between an optical engineer, an optics manufacturer and a metrologist.

For more information on our sphere manufacturing please see:

Spherical Lens Manufacturing Technology

Optimax makes spheres 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. Whether to prepare lens surfaces or to correct wedge, CNC machine tools are employed throughout the spherical fabrication process.

Here is an animation showing Optimax’s basic CNC generation concept:

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Testing Spheres

Optimax has one of the largest test plate libraries for making spheres. These test plates are certified to +/- 0.01% of radius. As required, Optimax can make test plates for special radii.

CoatingsSphere Coating 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 for all of our spherical lenses. 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 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:

  • New optical material processing
  • Higher laser damage threshold surfaces

For more information please see Optimax Innovation or contact