Historically diamond machining has been applied to infrared applications because of the more forgiving requirements for figure and finish. These machines were typically configured as lathes or flycutters, enabling them to produce flats and rotationally symmetric surfaces including off-axis aspheres that were within their “swing” capacity.
Recent technology improvements in machine position resolution, motion control, diamond tool quality, and fixturing techniques have allowed both visible and UV optics to be successfully produced. Furthermore, additional axes of control have further extended capabilities to include free-form components such as segments of very large “parents”, bi-aspheres, aspheric cylinders, as well as phase plates. Proprietary configurations now allow production of lens arrays, image slicers, gratings, corner cube arrays, as well as prismatic structures.
Advances in post-processing reduce diffractive effects and allow the direct figuring of aluminum.
This paper will present the results of these new technologies and processes as applied to space borne components and systems.