Every few years new polishing technologies attempt to make the transition from the research laboratory into the commercial sector. Success awaits any process that is well controlled and predictable (e.g., deterministic), rapid, capable of smoothing to sub-nm rms roughness levels while removing damage from grinding, affordable, and easily implemented. Applicability to different optical materials and a variety of part sizes and shapes is extremely important, but may not be required for a new technology to succeed in a niche market. This paper reviews six innovations in polishing of precision optics: Canon’s Super-Smooth Polisher (CSSP) that uses a sub-aperture pitch lap - a relatively mature but important base-line technology; Nikon / Osaka University’s RF Plasma Chemical Vaporization Machining (CVM); Epion’s Gas Cluster Ion Beam (GCIB) Process; the IOM University of Leipzig / NTGL Ion Beam Finishing (IBF) Technology; Zeeko’s “Precessions” Process with a sub-aperture section of an inflatable pad; and QED Technology’s Magnetorheological Finishing (MRF) with a magnetic fluid ribbon. The removal mechanism and some recent achievements for each process are discussed.
Stephen D. Jacobs,
"International innovations in optical finishing", Proc. SPIE 5523, Current Developments in Lens Design and Optical Engineering V, (14 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.557274; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.557274