6 May 2009 Low cost molded optics for IR imaging
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Abstract
Infrared sensors play a critical role in detection, guidance, and targeting in today's military systems and warfighter equipment, ranging from man-portable to space-borne. Although significant progress is being made in the development of IR imagers, another important component of IR sensors has not evolved significantly-the optics. Current IR lenses are primarily made of expensive single-crystal germanium with tedious mechanical fabrication operations that include grinding, polishing, and edging. There is an industry wide need for lower cost and higher performance IR lenses. Agiltron has developed a technology to directly mold IR lenses to net-shape without additional finishing operations. This manufacturing technology produces optics with many-fold reductions in cost, size, weight, and fabrication time. The ability to reproducibly manufacture aspheric optics with complex net-shapes reduces the number of lenses traditionally required for imaging systems, providing aberration correction as well as system weight and size reductions. Additionally, anti-reflective surfaces can be molded into the glass, eliminating the need for expensive AR coatings. This technology utilizes a new chalcogenide glass material that reduces temperature induced index of refraction changes to near zero, and has a thermal expansion coefficient similar to aluminum. The result is a new generation of low cost, high performance and thermally robust IR lens systems.
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Jing Zhao, Jing Zhao, Vincent DiFilippo, Vincent DiFilippo, Michael Li, Michael Li, } "Low cost molded optics for IR imaging", Proc. SPIE 7298, Infrared Technology and Applications XXXV, 72983J (6 May 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.819939; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.819939
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