Conformal optics require special manufacturing techniques to produce them to optical tolerances. In many cases the materials used are very hard optical ceramics that present additional manufacturing challenges due to their hardness and grain structure. OptiPro has developed grinding technologies such as OptiSonic grinding, as well as sub-aperture polishing technologies like UltraForm Finishing (UFF) to manufacture these challenging components. We have also developed a custom computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software package, ProSurf, to generate the complex tool paths for both grinding and polishing processes. One of the main advantages of ProSurf over traditional CAM software packages is that it uses metrology feedback for deterministic corrections. The metrology input can be obtained from OptiPro’s 5-axis UltraSurf metrology system, which is capable of measuring these complex shapes to sub-micron accuracies. Through the development of these technologies much work has been performed in creating, measuring and analyzing the alignment fiducials or datum’s used to qualify the location of the optical surfaces. Understanding the sensitivity of the optical surface to any datum misalignment is critical to knowing not only where the part is in space, but how good the optical surfaces are to each other. Working with the optical designer to properly tolerance surfaces to these datums is crucial. This paper will present the technologies developed by OptiPro to manufacture conformal windows as well as information related to the optical surfaces sensitivity to datums and how accurately those datums can be measured.
Edward Fess, James Ross, and Greg Matthews, "Grinding and polishing of conformal windows and domes," Proc. SPIE 10179, Window and Dome Technologies and Materials XV, 101790Q (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 12, 2017; Published: 3 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2269471.
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