Modern optical systems rely on leading-edge production technologies, especially for the development of aspherical optical elements. Many activities, worldwide, are targeted to the development of production technologies for aspheres that are as accurate, reliable, and cost-attractive as those for spherical lenses. Today, aspherical lenses of reasonably good quality are still up to 10 times more expensive than the corresponding spherical ones, which indicates how far we are away from achieving this. We must understand the current technologies to identify improvement potential.
We will describe several examples of applications and technologies, which give a good understanding along the value-added chain. Our priority is to understand general principles. Therefore, we disregard high-volume applications such as handy phone cameras, which on the one hand apply these principles but on the other hand use very special solutions for mass production because of the high competitiveness of these market segments.
This compendium is primarily written to be an optical technology reference book for development and production engineers. Due to the inherent complexity of aspheres, all efforts to push the development of technologies are still risky. To minimize risk, clear decisions based on a good understanding of technology are therefore indispensable at the management level.
Decision-makers for the implementation of optical technologies need to have technological background information available in a short and compressed way. This also holds for strategy management consultants, who have to propose solutions and prepare decisions. Today it is rather difficult to get access to all the information, and very often only experts can extract and interpret the relevant part that is needed. We see a real need for a reference book, and the best way to pull together authentic information is to involve experts in the field of optics.
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