David M. Aikens
President at Savvy Optics Corp
SPIE Involvement:
Fellow status | Senior status | Symposium Committee | Conference Chair | Author | Instructor
Area of Expertise:
Optical Design , Optics Specifications , Scratch and Dig , Surface Texture
Profile Summary

I am a veteran optical engineer, businessman and engineering manager, with 30 years of experience in lens design, optics, optical engineering, optical products, and optical systems development. At different times, I have run operations, engineering, research, and business organizations varying in size for a handful of energized engineers, to more than 75 professionals. I love optics, lens design, engineering management and business, and bring energy and enthusiasm to every position. I am a creative, out of the box thinker with real-world experience at getting things done.

Right now I am focused on solving the problems associated with surface imperfections and surface texture on optics. I started Savvy Optics Corp. in 2007 to offer education, training, services, and products that address these critical areas. In addition, I continue to devote about half my time doing optical system engineering and design, specializing in practical optical design solutions for reconnaisance, semiconductor, lighting, spectroscopy, metrology, and biomedical applications.

Specialties: lens design, scratch and dig, ISO 10110, mid-spatial frequency ripple, illumination systems design, and instrument and product specifications and marketing, especially with optically related products.
Publications (26)

PROCEEDINGS ARTICLE | September 14, 2018
Proc. SPIE. 10742, Optical Manufacturing and Testing XII
KEYWORDS: Photovoltaics, Polishing, Coating, Wavefronts, Laser irradiation, Aspheric lenses, Spherical lenses, Tolerancing, Surface finishing, Standards development

PROCEEDINGS ARTICLE | September 14, 2018
Proc. SPIE. 10742, Optical Manufacturing and Testing XII
KEYWORDS: Optical components, Optical fabrication, Photonics, Optical communications, Aspheric lenses, Active optics, Tolerancing, Optics manufacturing, Surface finishing, Standards development

PROCEEDINGS ARTICLE | November 27, 2017
Proc. SPIE. 10590, International Optical Design Conference 2017

PROCEEDINGS ARTICLE | September 5, 2017
Proc. SPIE. 10402, Earth Observing Systems XXII
KEYWORDS: Optomechanical design, Telescopes, Satellites, Remote sensing, Satellite imaging, Space telescopes, Lightweight mirrors, Silicon carbide, Optical telescopes

SPIE Journal Paper | April 7, 2016
OE Vol. 55 Issue 07
KEYWORDS: Standards development, Tolerancing, Aspheric lenses, Optical components, Manufacturing, Optical engineering, Freeform optics, Metrology, Photovoltaics, Photonics

PROCEEDINGS ARTICLE | September 3, 2015
Proc. SPIE. 9582, Optical System Alignment, Tolerancing, and Verification IX
KEYWORDS: Optical components, Metrology, Manufacturing, Photonics, Aspheric lenses, Geometrical optics, Freeform optics, Tolerancing, Optics manufacturing, Standards development

Showing 5 of 26 publications
Conference Committee Involvement (2)
Optical Instrumentation and Systems Design
12 May 1996 | Glasgow, United Kingdom
Design of Optical Instruments
21 April 1992 | Orlando, FL, United States
Course Instructor
SC1017: Optics Surface Inspection Workshop
Understanding the correct way to inspect optical surfaces is one the most important skills anyone working with or around optics can have, including technicians, material handlers, engineers, managers, and buyers. While understanding the specifications is the first step, learning how to actually perform the inspection is just as important. This hands-on workshop will allow attendees to learn the "Best Practice" for cleaning and inspecting optical surfaces. The course has many demonstrations and labs and gives attendees practice handling and inspecting optics to develop a high level of proficiency. This course was designed to bring photonics personnel up to an immediate working knowledge on the correct methods to conduct a surface inspection in accordance with MIL, ANSI, and ISO standards. It is designed to complement SC700 Understanding Scratch and Dig Specifications and provide hands-on experience applying the specification and inspection parameters covered in that course.
SC700: Understanding Scratch and Dig Specifications
Surface imperfection specifications (i.e. Scratch-Dig) are among the most misunderstood, misinterpreted, and ambiguous of all optics component specifications. This course provides attendees with an understanding of the source of ambiguity in surface imperfection specifications, and provides the context needed to properly specify surface imperfections using a variety of specification standards, and to evaluate a given optic to a particular level of surface imperfection specification. The course will focus on the differences and application of the Mil-PRF-13830, ISO 10110-7, and ANSI OP1.002. Many practical and useful specification examples are included throughout, as well as a hands-on demonstration on visual comparison evaluation techniques. The course is followed by SC1017 Optics Surface Inspection Workshop, which provides hands-on experience conducting inspections using the specification information provided in this course.
SC1153: A Practical Guide to Specifying Optical Components
Specifying optics, even commercial optics, can be a daunting task. The optics industry has evolved its own language, symbology, and standards for specifying and manufacturing optical components which can be obscure to even a veteran engineer, much less a newcomer to the industry. This course provides an overview of the basic principles, terms, and standards that are necessary for someone specifying optical elements. A primary goal of the course is to serve as a practical guide to optics specifications and drawings, and how they relate to optical system performance. Engineers and users of optics who need to buy optical components, but are unsure of all the detailed specifications, will benefit from taking this course.
SC1011: Making Sense of Waviness and Roughness on Optics
The surface texture of a polished optical surface is an important, if misunderstood, surface property. This course is designed to bring photonics personnel up to an immediate working knowledge on surface texture specifications and the impact surface roughness and waviness can have on an optical system. Surface roughness causes scatter and system transmission loss, while waviness and mid-spatial frequency ripple can cause loss of resolution, image quality, veiling glare, beam modulation and a host of other issues. Until recently, surface texture could be safely described by a single number, RMS roughness, following MIL-STD-10A, since most polished optical surfaces were manufactured using the same slurry-pitch process that had existed for decades. In the past 30 years, however, new manufacturing technologies have evolved using molding, diamond turning, synthetic lap polishing and deterministic figuring which have dramatically altered the surface finish of optics. In order to control the resultant surface texture errors, new specifications like gradients, correlation values, PSDs and MSF ripple specifications have been introduced. Most users do not completely understand these new notations however, and the meaning of even a simple RMS roughness specification has become obscure, or even meaningless. The course begins with the origins and evolution of surface texture specifications in optics, and defines the terms and parameters used to control surface texture in the modern optical manufacturing world. The potential performance impact of surface texture errors will be covered, and some specific case studies will be used to show the impact of various amplitudes of these errors on precision optical instrument performance. The national and international standards are introduced, and the derivation of meaningful specification for texture and waviness for common applications is discussed. Finally, the identification, measurement and reduction of these manufacturing errors is treated.
SC863: Introduction to Modern Optical Drawings – the ISO 10110 Standard
Since the late 1990's, the optics community has gradually been converting optics drawings from a free-form, notes-based method to a standardized, international pictographic method. In 2013, the United States joined the international community by adopting a version of ISO 10110 as the American National Standard for optics drawings. This new method is a great boon for an industry in need of standardization, but can be very confusing to the uninitiated. In addition, the standard has continued to evolve with new revisions and additions to address the needs of more applications and markets. This course provides attendees with an introduction to ISO 10110, the international standard for optics drawing notations. The course concentrates on the fundamentals of the drawing layout and how to read the notations required for typical optics, such as glass parameters, radius, wave-front, surface imperfections and roughness. Attendees are also informed about how the American version differs from the current international standard. Practical and useful examples are included throughout.
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