Many defense systems have a critical need for high-precision, complex optics. However, fabrication of high quality, advanced optics is often seriously hampered by the lack of accurate and affordable metrology. QED's Subaperture Stitching Interferometer (SSI®) provides a breakthrough technology, enabling the automatic capture of precise metrology data for large and/or strongly curved (concave and convex) parts.
QED’s SSI complements next-generation finishing technologies, such as Magnetorheological Finishing (MRF®), by extending the effective aperture, accuracy and dynamic range of a phase-shifting interferometer. This workstation performs automated sub-aperture stitching measurements of spheres, flats, and mild aspheres. It combines a six-axis precision stage system, a commercial Fizeau interferometer, and specially developed software that automates measurement design, data acquisition, and the reconstruction of the full-aperture figure error map. Aside from the correction of sub-aperture placement errors (such as tilts, optical power, and registration effects), our software also accounts for reference-wave error, distortion and other aberrations in the interferometer’s imaging optics. The SSI can automatically measure the full aperture of high numerical aperture surfaces (such as domes) to interferometric accuracy.
The SSI extends the usability of a phase measuring interferometer and allows users with minimal training to produce full-aperture measurements of otherwise untestable parts. Work continues to extend this technology to measure aspheric shapes without the use of dedicated null optics. This SSI technology will be described, sample measurement results shown, and various manufacturing applications discussed.