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28 September 2013Design, fabrication, and metrology of polymer gradient-index lenses for high-performance eyepieces
High-performance eyepiece designs have been carried out using both spherical and radial gradient-index (GRIN)
elements. Eyepiece designs of both geometries are shown to offer superior imaging performance with fewer elements
when compared to purely homogeneous systems. These GRIN lenses are formed from monomer diffusion between
polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and polystyrene (PSTY) during the polymerization process, resulting in a copolymer
of the two homogeneous materials.
A process for fabricating spherical GRIN elements is discussed where copolymer axial GRIN blanks are thermally
compressed using spherical surface molds. This process curves the nominally-straight isoindicial surfaces of the axial
GRIN rod to be consistent with the shape found during optimization of the design. Once compressed, the spherical
blanks are diamond-turned for final surface figure and finish. Measurement of the GRIN profile is carried out using the
Schmidt immersion technique in a Mach-Zehnder interferometer. Tolerances specific to GRIN elements are identified
and determined to be readily achievable using the aforementioned manufacturing process.
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James A. Corsetti, Anthony J. Visconti, Kejia Fang, Peter McCarthy, Greg R. Schmidt, Duncan T. Moore, "Design, fabrication, and metrology of polymer gradient-index lenses for high-performance eyepieces," Proc. SPIE 8841, Current Developments in Lens Design and Optical Engineering XIV, 88411G (28 September 2013);