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Technical Papers

Metrology of Freeform Optics

Freeform optical surfaces are gaining popularity with lens designers and optical system integrators as a method to solve complex optical system design problems. Fortunately advances in optical manufacturing have opened the possibility for designers to realize these complex surfaces. In order to ....

Designing and Selecting an Optical Cleaning Process

Every optical application requires a “clean” optical surface. However, what defines “clean” is subjective and is based on the needs of the application.   In order to download this White Paper please fill out the form

Optimax ‐OTR Coatings for Extreme Environmental Resistance

Optimax has developed a novel optical coating (OTR‐AR) that protects optical surfaces in even the most extreme environmental use conditions. OTR coatings have been demonstrated to provide excellent resistance to latent scratching, staining and dimming of chemically sensitive optical glass surfa ....

Trial and Tribulations of Optical Manufacturing: Asphere Edition

Optimax Systems, Inc., a leader in quick delivery prototype optics, has been manufacturing aspheric lenses for over 20 years. Along the way, we have learned many lessons, some the hard way, about how we overcame the problem, and provide takeaways for other manufactures and designers

Deterministic form correction of extreme freeform optical surfaces

Optimax has placed emphasis on refining the deterministic form correction process. By developing many of these procedures in house, changes can be implemented quickly and efficiently in order to rapidly converge on an optimal manufacturing method.    

Fabrication of Freeforms

Optimax has developed a robust freeform optical fabrication CNC process that includes generation, high speed VIBE polishing, sub-aperture figure correction, surface smoothing and testing of freeform surfaces.  

Producing Smooth Surfaces on Polycrystalline ZnS Aspheres and Freeforms

Commercially available deterministic polishing methods commonly induce excessive surface roughness, or grain decoration, on polycrystalline aspheres and freeforms. The excessive surface roughness causes optical scatter and limits optimal performance. In current work, a process developed at Opti ....

Fabricating and Testing Freeform Optics

Current Capabilities, Lessons Learned and Future Opportunities Freeform optical shapes or optical surfaces that are designed with non-symmetric features are gaining popularity with lens designers and optical system integrators. A common question about freeform optics is, “If I design it, ....

Specifying, Manufacturing and Measuring Aspheric Lens – Part I

This paper gives a basic survey of specifying aspheric forms, their function, and their manufacturing and testing

Freeform optical manufacturing and testing processes for IR conformal window and dome

Complete freeform optical fabrication process that includes ultrasonic generation of hard ceramic surfaces, high speed VIBE polishing, sub-aperture figure correction of polycrystalline materials, finishing and final testing of freeform surfaces.  

Deterministic Form Correction of Extreme Freeform Optical Surfaces

Optimax has developed a variety of new deterministic freeform manufacturing processes. Combining traditional optical fabrication techniques with cutting edge technological innovations has yielded a multifaceted manufacturing approach that can successfully handle even the most extreme freeform o ....

Specifying, Manufacturing and Measuring Aspheric Lenses – Part II

This paper highlights the similarities and differences between tolerancing, manufacturing and measuring spherical and aspheric surfaces

Reduced cost and improved figure of sapphire optical components

Optimax’s sapphire production process achieves significant improvement in cost by implementation of a controlled grinding process to present the best possible surface to the polishing equipment.      

Assembly Method Considerations for Cemented Assemblies

This paper will examine options in assembly methods of cemented lens assemblies, and techniques for communicating critical items will be presented

Basics of Optical Surfaces

Learn the fundamentals of tolerancing and testing for surface roughness and mid-spatial frequency errors. These factors affect all elements of the optics fabrication process, from design to manufacturing.

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. OSA OF&T (2008) – D.A. Aikens, J.E. DeGroote and R.N. Youngworth, ‘Specification and Control of Mid-Spatial Frequency Wavefront Errors in Optical Systems,’ ....

Surface Irregularity

This paper will define surface irregularity for spherical surfaces, offer information on measurement methods for testing surface irregularities, and some specification guidelines

Radius Tolerancing

This paper will review tolerancing schemes for spherical radii, including the historical origins. It finishes with recommendations for specifying tolerances for spherical radii

The Cost of Tolerancing

In this paper, methodologies for assessing design robustness and tolerancing optical systems are covered. Typical “default” tolerances are evaluated for effectiveness and cost. Finally, the paper has a case study that explicitly shows a design with different sets of tolerances and relative cost ....

Cylinder Manufacturing Considerations

This paper will look at how cylinder manufacturing methods can influence specification, offering recommendations on what to consider when designing

This Was Not the Land that Kodak Forgot

The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster sought ways to promote itself and grow jobs in the Rochester region

Value Proposition and Total Cost of Ownership

This paper, written by Optimax, explains how the total cost of a part is calculated over its entire lifespan. By investing in higher quality and reliability, total cost decreases as supporting costs become less necessary

Optimax and the Birth of Rapid Prototyping

This paper, written by Optimax, tells the story of how Optimax was founded and how we are able to support “Prototype Optics in 1 Week!&#

Many gain from one MBA grad’s classroom experience

A master’s degree in business administration offers personal and professional benefits to those whove earned them and their co-workers. – An RBJ interview including Mike Mandina and Rick Plympton

Optimax’s Fun-Loving CEO

This Rochester Business Journal article speaks of Rick Plympton’s philosophy and career objectives to promote optics that benefit mankind – and have fun doing it

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

This paper gives a comparison of CLEARCERAM® thermal properties as well as the manufacturability using traditional grinding and polishing methods. OSA OF&T (2008) – C. Ghio, K. Nakajima and J. DeGroote, ‘Manufacturability study of CLEARCERAM®(T008) compared to other low CTE mate ....

Better Polishing through Chemistry

This paper discusses how learning the chemical aspects of optical polishing can lead to better optics in less time. – J.E. Degroote “Better Polishing through Chemistry,” OPN, July/August, 10-12 (2008)

Transmitted Wavefront Error Correction

This paper discusses why tolerancing optical lenses in transmission rather than reflection offers financial, performance and delivery advantages for a given class of aspheric optics

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 are six-inch concentric F/0.53 spherical fused silica domes manufactured by Optimax Systems, Inc. The purpose of these domes is to act as a standard for metrology testing of various testing methods for measuring the surface quality, mechanical attributes and/or the transmitted wave-fr ....

Advances in ALON™ Optical Component Fabrication

This paper discusses how to reduce the overall ALON fabrication time by improving the rate and quality of the conventional grinding steps. EMWS (2008)

Increased UV transmission by improving the manufacturing process for FS

In this paper, a four-phased project to increase the performance of UV optics is discussed. SPIE Optical Manufacutring Testing VIII (2009)

Varying electro-kinetic interactions to achieve ….. on ZnS

This paper will serve as a baseline for developing an empirical model for optimizing both surface roughness and removal rate for two different types of abrasives and two pitch types with ZnS. SPIE Optical Manufacutring Testing VIII (2009)

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

The Sum of All Errors

Magnetorheological Finishing (MRF) offers an effective way for correcting transmitted wavefront of lenses. Optimax Systems uses this MRF process to correct aspheric lenses in transmission to subwavelength errors

Centration Tolerances

This paper defines and details the parameters used in specifying centration of a lens and techniques used to check location of and position the optical axis

Optical System Design – Optical Manufacturing Considerations

This text assumes the manufacture of a precision glass lens of approximately 50mm diameter using grinding and polishing techniques, taking into consideration optical material, component size, shape, and manufacturing tolerances

Useful Estimations and Rules of Thumb for Optomechanics

In this paper by Katie Schwertz, the estimation or rule of thumb is concisely stated. A corresponding equation, if applicable, is also included. Relevant background information is presented to the reader to give context as to when this rule can be applied. The details of how the rule should be ....

Lens-Edging Tolerance

This article focuses on edge thickness difference (ETD) as a common callout that relates to the amount of acceptable beam-deviation error for lenses

The Language Of Prisms

This paper will explain terms unique to prism manufacturing, explaining when they are useful

Considerations in Manufacturing Cemented Assemblies

This paper will examine options in construction of cemented lens assemblies, and considerations for mechanical mounting and cement selection will be offered

Optical Glass: Substitutes Versus Equivalents

This paper details the motivation for selecting alternate optical materials within an established design and offers considerations when doing so.    

Specifying And Measuring Spherical Surface Irregularity ©

This paper will define surface irregularity for spherical surfaces, offer information on measurement methods for testing surface irregularities, and some specification guidelines

Tolerancing, Specifying and Measuring Spherical Radius

This paper will review tolerancing schemes for spherical radii, including the historical origins. It finishes with recommendations for specifying tolerances for spherical radii

Mechanical Attributes: Diameter, Center and Edge Thickness Specification for Lens Manufacture

This paper will explain the role mechanical attribute tolerancing plays in balancing lens function and cost and will help in choosing an optimum tolerance

Specifying And Modeling As-Built Centration Errors For Singlets And Cemented Doublets

This presentation will look at sources of lens centration manufacturing errors in singlets and cemented doublets, how manufacturing errors can be modeled in lens design software and how to specify centration tolerances on lens drawing

Specifying More Than Peak to Valley

This paper is an introduction to specifications and tolerances intended fo more throughly define figure and form of precision optical elements. Specifications that will be outlined here include mid-spatial frequency wavefront error, slope and PVr

The Effect of Phase Distortion On…Thin Film Coated Optical Surfaces

This paper discusses difficulty in accurately interpreting surface form data from a phase shifting interferometer measurement of a thin film interference coated surfaces

Operating A Business

This Rochester Business Alliance article speaks of Mike Mandina’s innovative leadership and ‘in the trenches’ management style.  

Optimax Case Study by Hitachi

As a result of placing in the top 20 of Inc. Magazine’s and Winning Workplaces 2010 Top Small Company Workplaces Competition, Optimax was contacted by the Hitachi Foundation to participate in a case study. This case study highlights Opitmax’s good workplace practices.  

20 Years of Innovation – Rochester Engineering Society Magazine

Founded in 1991, Optimax was one of the first optics manufacturers to use computer-controlled machining for the fabrication of optical components, reducing manufacturing time from 10 weeks to five days.  

VIBE™ finishing to remove mid-spatial frequency ripple

The VIBE™ process is a full aperture, conformal polishing process incorporating high frequency and random motion designed to rapidly remove sub-surface damage in a VIBE pre-polish step and eliminate mid-spatial frequency (MSF) errors in a VIBE finishing step

R&D and the Optics Manufacturing Shop Floor

Andrew A. Haefner, Robert R. Wiederhold, Michael P. Mandina, Jessica DeGroote Nelson, ‘R&D on the Optics Manufacturing Shop Floor,’ in Frontiers in Optics (FiO)/Laser Science (LS) (Optical Society of America, Washington, DC, 2010), FTh

VIBE™ Rapid Polishing Process to Smooth Optical Surfaces

The VIBE process is a full-aperture, conformal polishing process that uses high-frequency, random motion to rapidly remove sub-surface damage and eliminate mid-spatial-frequency surface errors. The process can also be used as a finishing step after deterministic sub-aperture polishing

Asphere Manufacturing Considerations for the Designer

Mark Schickler, Robert Wiederhold, Michael Mandina, ‘Asphere Manufacturing Considerations for the Designer,’ in Frontiers in Optics (FiO)/Laser Science (LS) (Optical Society of America, Washington, DC, 2010) FTh

Aspheric glass lens modeling and machining

In this paper by Barry Johnson, the evolution of the manufacturing technology is discussed for a specific aspheric glass lens

Introduction to Asphere Metrology

This paper outlines the numerous metrology options for aspheres, including how they work, any requirements, and what is specified with each method in an effort to help reasonably tolerance aspheres

Specifying, Applying and Measuring Thin Film Coating

This paper will explain general process of specifying, applying and measuring thin film coating

Specifying and Measuring Slope Error of Optical Surface

This paper will first detail where slope error originated from, what it represents and the role it plays in the optical performance

Role of Surface Roughness In Optical Performance

This paper examines the role surface roughness plays in optical system performance, discusses the components of a surface roughness specification, and contrasts roughness with cosmetic defects