From Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2017
Higher performance expectations for complex optical systems demand tighter alignment requirements for lens assembly alignment. In order to meet diffraction limited imaging performance over wide spectral bands across the UV and visible wavebands, new manufacturing approaches and tools must be developed if the optical systems will be produced consistently in volume production. This is especially applicable in the field of precision microscope objectives for life science, semiconductor inspection and laser material processing systems. We observe a rising need for the improvement in the optical imaging performance of objective lenses. The key challenge lies in the micron-level decentration and tilt of each lens element. One solution for the production of high quality lens systems is sub-cell assembly with alignment turning. This process relies on an automatic alignment chuck to align the optical axis of a mounted lens to the spindle axis of the machine. Subsequently, the mount is cut with diamond tools on a lathe with respect to the optical axis of the mount. Software controlled integrated measurement technology ensures highest precision. In addition to traditional production processes, further dimensions can be controlled in a very precise manner, e.g. the air gaps between the lenses. Using alignment turning simplifies further alignment steps and reduces the risk of errors. This paper describes new challenges in microscope objective design and manufacturing, and addresses difficulties with standard production processes. A new measurement and alignment technique is described, and strengths and limitations are outlined.
James J. Kumler and Christian Buss, "Sub-cell turning to accomplish micron-level alignment of precision assemblies," Proc. SPIE 10377, Optical System Alignment, Tolerancing, and Verification XI, 1037702 (Presented at SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications: August 06, 2017; Published: 22 August 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2277576.
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