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23 September 2015 Lens auto-centering
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In a typical optical system, optical elements usually need to be precisely positioned and aligned to perform the correct optical function. This positioning and alignment involves securing the optical element in a holder or mount. Proper centering of an optical element with respect to the holder is a delicate operation that generally requires tight manufacturing tolerances or active alignment, resulting in costly optical assemblies. To optimize optical performance and minimize manufacturing cost, there is a need for a lens mounting method that could relax manufacturing tolerance, reduce assembly time and provide high centering accuracy. This paper presents a patent pending lens mounting method developed at INO that can be compared to the drop-in technique for its simplicity while providing the level of accuracy close to that achievable with techniques using a centering machine (usually < 5 μm). This innovative auto-centering method is based on the use of geometrical relationship between the lens diameter, the lens radius of curvature and the thread angle of the retaining ring. The autocentering principle and centering test results performed on real optical assemblies are presented. In addition to the low assembly time, high centering accuracy, and environmental robustness, the INO auto-centering method has the advantage of relaxing lens and barrel bore diameter tolerances as well as lens wedge tolerances. The use of this novel lens mounting method significantly reduces manufacturing and assembly costs for high performance optical systems. Large volume productions would especially benefit from this advancement in precision lens mounting, potentially providing a drastic cost reduction.
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Frédéric Lamontagne, Nichola Desnoyers, Michel Doucet, Patrice Côté, Jonny Gauvin, Geneviève Anctil, and Mathieu Tremblay "Lens auto-centering", Proc. SPIE 9626, Optical Systems Design 2015: Optical Design and Engineering VI, 962619 (23 September 2015);

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