Gradient index (GRIN) lenses have been created for imaging in the infrared regime by diffusion of chalcogenide glasses. The GRIN lenses are shaped using a combination of precision glass molding and single point diamond turning. The precision glass molding step, is known to cause a drop in the index of refraction in both oxide and chalcogenide glasses. This drop is a direct result of the cooling rate during the molding process. Since the GRIN lenses have an index of refraction profile created by diffusion of multiple chalcogenide glasses, we would expect that the index drop would vary as a function of position. In this paper we investigate the expected profile change due to the index drop of the constituent chalcogenide glasses, as well as report performance data on the GRIN lenses.
Single aperture multispectral systems are becoming prevalent thanks to advances in multispectral detectors, new optical materials, and new methods for selecting materials that minimize chromatic and thermal focal shift. This design study focuses on design of a three field-of-view, multispectral lens operating across the MWIR and LWIR spectral regions. The lens in question will have an f-number of f/3 with a 3X zoom ratio. The narrow full field-ofview of the lens is 3.33° with a wide full field-of view of 9.99°, the length of the system is 163 mm. The performance goal for the lens is diffraction limited over the thermal region. The study will provide an overview of material selection using an updated γv-v diagram, to provide achromatic and athermal characteristics. The study will then step through first order layout, optimization with key constraints, and tolerancing for manufacturability. Finally, the study will provide detailed analysis of system performance including as-built MTF over temperature, aberration analysis, and NETD contributions from narcissus.
Infrared (IR) transmitting gradient index (GRIN) materials have been developed for broad-band IR imaging. This material is derived from the diffusion of homogeneous chalcogenide glasses has good transmission for all IR wavebands. The optical properties of the IR-GRIN materials are presented and the fabrication and design methodologies are discussed. Modeling and optimization of the diffusion process is exploited to minimize the deviation of the index profile from the design profile. Fully diffused IR-GRIN blanks with Δn of ~0.2 are demonstrated with deviation errors of ±0.01 refractive index units.
There is a strong desire to reduce size and weight of single and multiband IR imaging systems in ISR operations on hand-held, helmet mounted or airborne platforms. Current systems are limited by bulky optics. We have recently developed a large number of new optical materials based on chalcogenide glasses which transmit in SWIR to LWIR wavelength region that fill up the glass map for multispectral optics and vary in refractive index from 2.38 to 3.17. They show a large spread in dispersion (Abbe number) and offer some unique solutions for multispectral optics designs. These glasses were specifically designed to have comparable glass molding temperatures and thermal properties to be able to laminate and co-mold the optics and reduce the number of air-glass interfaces (lower Fresnel reflection losses). These new NRL glasses also have negative or very low positive dn/dT making it easier to athermalize the optical system. This presentation will cover discussions on the new optical materials, multispectral designs, fabrication and characterization of new optics.
Graded index (GRIN) optical materials and novel lens offer numerous benefits for infrared applications, where selection of conventional materials is limited. For optical systems that must perform over wide spectral regions, the reduction of size weight and complexity can be achieved through the use of GRIN elements. At the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) we are developing new technologies for IR gradient index (IR-GRIN) optical materials. This paper will present the latest progress in the development of these materials including their design space guidelines, fabrication, metrology, optics characterization, and preliminary imaging demonstration.
Metrology of a gradient index (GRIN) material is non-trivial, especially in the realm of infrared and large refractive index. Traditional methods rely on index matching fluids which are not available for indexes as high as those found in the chalcogenide glasses (2.4-3.2). By diffusing chalcogenide glasses of similar composition one can blend the properties in a continuous way. In an effort to measure this we will present data from both x-ray computed tomography scans (CT scans) and Raman mapping scans of the diffusion profiles. Proof of concept measurements on undiffused bonded sheets of chalcogenide glasses were presented previously. The profiles measured will be of axially stacked sheets of chalcogenide glasses diffused to create a linear GRIN profile and nested tubes of chalcogenide glasses diffused to create a radial parabolic GRIN profile. We will show that the x-ray absorption in the CT scan and the intensity of select Raman peaks spatially measured through the material are indicators of the concentration of the diffusion ions and correlate to the spatial change in refractive index. We will also present finite element modeling (FEM) results and compare them to post precision glass molded (PGM) elements that have undergone CT and Raman mapping.
As the desire to have compact multispectral imagers in various DoD platforms is growing, the dearth of multispectral
optics is widely felt. With the limited number of material choices for optics, these multispectral imagers are often very
bulky and impractical on several weight sensitive platforms. To address this issue, NRL has developed a large set of
unique infrared glasses that transmit from 0.9 to > 14 μm in wavelength and expand the glass map for multispectral
optics with refractive indices from 2.38 to 3.17. They show a large spread in dispersion (Abbe number) and offer some
unique solutions for multispectral optics designs. The new NRL glasses can be easily molded and also fused together to
make bonded doublets. A Zemax compatible glass file has been created and is available upon request. In this paper we
present some designs, optics fabrication and imaging, all using NRL materials.
Gradient index (GRIN) optics have been an up-and-coming tool in the world of optics. By combining an index gradient with a surface curvature the number of optical components for a lens system can often be greatly reduced. Their use in the realm of infra-red is only becoming realized as new efforts are being developed to create materials that are suitable and mutually compatible for these optical components. The materials being pursued are the chalcogenide based glasses. Small changes in elemental concentrations in these glasses can have significant effects on physical and optical properties. The commonality between these glasses and their widely different optical properties make them prime candidates for GRIN applications. Traditional methods of metrology are complicated by the combination of the GRIN and the curvature of the element. We will present preliminary data on both destructive and non-destructive means of measuring the GRIN profile. Non-destructive methods may require inference of index through material properties, by careful measurement of the individual materials going into the GRIN optic, followed by, mapping measurements of the GRIN surface. Methods to be pursued are micro Raman mapping and CT scanning. By knowing the properties of the layers and accurately mapping the interfaces between the layers we should be able to back out the index profile of the GRIN optic and then confirm the profile by destructive means.
With the increase in demand for infrared optics for thermal applications and the use of glass molding of chalcogenide materials to support these higher volume optical designs, an investigation of changes to the optical properties of these materials is required. Typical precision glass molding requires specific thermal conditions for proper lens molding of any type of optical glass. With these conditions a change (reduction) of optical index occurs after molding of all oxide glass types and it is presumed that a similar behavior will happen with chalcogenide based materials. We will discuss the effects of a typical molding thermal cycle for use with commercially and newly developed chalcogenide materials and show results of index variation from nominally established material data.