20 May 2011 Advanced manufacturing technologies for reduced cost and weight in portable ruggedized VIS-IR and multi-mode optical systems for land, sea, and air
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Abstract
Homeland security systems, special forces, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and marine patrols require low cost, high performance, multi-mode visible through infrared (VIS-IR) wavelength optical systems to identify and neutralize potential threats that often arise at long ranges and under poor visibility conditions. Long range and wide spectral performance requirements favor reflective optical system design solutions. The limited field of view of such designs can be significantly enhanced by the use of catadioptric optical solutions that utilize molded or diamond point machined VIS-IR lenses downstream from reflective objective optics. A common optical aperture that services multiple modes of field-of-view, operating wavelength, and includes laser ranging and spotting, provides the highest utility and is most ideal for size and weight. Such a design also often requires fast, highly aspheric, reflective, refractive, and sometimes diffractive surfaces using high performance and aggressively light-weighted materials that demand the finest of manufacturing technologies. Visible wavelength performance sets the bar for component optical surface irregularity on the order of 20 nm RMS and surface finishes less than 3.0 nm RMS. Aluminum mirrors and structures can also be precision machined to yield "snap together alignment" or limited compensation assembly approaches to reduce cost and enhance interchangeability. Diamond point turning, die cast and investment cast mirror substrates and structures, computerized optical polishing, mirror replication, lens molding and other advanced manufacturing technologies can all be used to minimize the cost of this type of optical equipment. This paper discusses the tradeoffs among materials and process selection for catadioptric, multi-mode systems that are under development for a variety of DoD and Homeland Security applications. Several examples are profiled to illuminate the confluence of applicable design and manufacturing technologies.
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Michael Sweeney, Michael Sweeney, Robert Spinazzola, Robert Spinazzola, Donald Morrison, Donald Morrison, Dennis Macklin, Dennis Macklin, Jared Marion, Jared Marion, } "Advanced manufacturing technologies for reduced cost and weight in portable ruggedized VIS-IR and multi-mode optical systems for land, sea, and air", Proc. SPIE 8012, Infrared Technology and Applications XXXVII, 801227 (20 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.884363; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.884363
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