A new capability for simultaneously generating micro-structures and large freeform surfaces has been developed. Multiple axes of CNC coordinated motion have been integrated into an ultra precision machine platform, enabling a wide variety of optical mold masters to be created. Facilitated by a specially developed control system, freeform optical surfaces as large as 600 x 600 x 100 mm are possible. Some machine alignments are critical to the production of accurate parts and these will be discussed. A bridge construction reduces Abbe offsets, and oil hydrostatic linear slide ways provide sub-micron straightness. The linear axes are capable of accurate positioning by means of linear motors in combination with the non contact oil hydrostatic slide ways. Optical surface finishes are achieved with the stability of a large granite base supported by a high performance vibration isolation system. The machine includes a unique, self-compensating, patented oil bearing rotary axis. Critical machine errors are measured and corrected with integrated CNC machine compensation. The machine has accuracy and repeatability for the creation of precise, intersecting groove structures with multiple angles over large areas. Optical surfaces can be generated either by a ruling/shaping operation with a non-rotating tool, or by a flycutting tool rotating on a high speed air bearing spindle. The spindle can double as a positioning axis to generate variable angle grooves in ruling mode. A Fast Tool Servo can be utilized to create fine micro-structures. Work piece quality can be evaluated in-situ with metrology sensors.
Monolithic lens arrays are used in applications such as hyper-spectral imaging, Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensors, and
lens replication molds, where lens-to-lens registration is critical. Traditionally, monolithic lens arrays are produced by
diamond turning one lens at a time on axis. This process requires the substrate to be shifted to a new position before the
next lens is machined. This intermediate step increases production time and makes it difficult to achieve lens-to-lens
registration accuracy. Freeform diamond machining allows lens arrays to be produced in a single setup. Since there are
no intermediate shifts of the substrate, the lens-to-lens registration is inherent to the program and machine accuracy. The
purpose of this paper is to compare different freeform manufacturing processes in the production of a three-element
germanium lens array. Freeform machining technologies including Slow Tool Servo (STS), Fast Tool Servo (FTS) and
Diamond Micro-Milling (DMM) will be used to produce this lens array. The results for process times, figure, and finish
characteristics will be compared across all three techniques.
This paper describes a novel, high-brightness, multi-laser- diode system that provides great flexibility for use in a wide array of applications. The system consists of eight individual, field-replaceable laser diodes, whose outputs are optically combined to provide a collimated beam. Field replaceability of the diodes and mechanical robustness of this system make it particularly suitable for highly demanding environments. CW optical power greater than 90 Watts at 915 nm was focused to a spot size of 140 X 130 micrometer and a numerical aperture of 0.22 NA. This high CW power density (approximately 5 X 105 W/cm2) was achieved by polarization coupling of two multi-laser-diode systems. Optical power in excess of 52 W was obtained from a single-end pumped, grating stabilized Yb:fiber laser at 1100 nm. This paper will also present results on digital printing, CD-RW disk initialization and solid-state laser pumping. A unique feature of this system is the ability for direct-diode coupling to fiber, eliminating any splicing or connector- related losses.
This paper discusses a high-brightness multi-laser source developed at Polaroid for such applications as coupling light to fibers, pumping fiber lasers, pumping solid state lasers, material processing, and medical procedures. The power and brightness are obtained by imaging the nearfields of up to eight separate multi-mode lasers side by side on a multi-faceted mirror that makes the beams parallel. The lasers are microlensed to equalize the divergences in the two principal meridians. Each laser is aligned in a field- replaceable illuminator module whose output beam, focused at infinity, is bore-sighted in a mechanical cylinder. The illuminators are arranged roughly radially and the nearfields are reimaged on the mirror, which is produced by diamond machining. The array of nearfields is linearly polarized. A customizable afocal relay forms a telecentric image of the juxtaposed nearfields, as required by the application. The lasers can be of differing powers and wavelengths, and they can be independently switched. Light from other sources can be combined. The output can be utilized in free space or it can be coupled into a fiber for transport or a fiber laser for pumping. A linearly polarized free space output can be obtained, which allows two units to be polarization combined to double the power and brightness.
This paper discusses the optical and opto-mechanical design of a new laser head developed at Polaroid for printing Helios binary film for printing high quality medical hard copy images. The head is part of an external drum printer for 14' X 17' film. The pixel size is 84 X 84 μm, produced by four lasers, with the smallest printable spot 3 X 6 micrometer, to produce 4096 gray levels. Two pixels side-by-side are simultaneously printed. The head has eight independent 840 nm diode lasers manufactured by Polaroid. Each laser emits up to 1.1 W over an emission length of about 100 μm, with a particularly uniform nearfield irradiance. The lasers are microlensed to equalize the divergences in the two principal meridians. Each packaged laser is aligned in a field-replaceable illuminator whose output beam, focused at infinity, is bore-sighted in a mechanical cylinder. The illuminators are arranged roughly radially. Eight lenses image the laser nearfields on a multi-facet mirror produced by diamond machining. The mirror facets truncate the beams to give the desired pixel shapes and separations. A reducing afocal relay images the mirror onto the film. The final element is a molded aspheric lens, mounted in an actuator to maintain focus on the film. The focusing unit also comprises a triangulation-based focus sensor. The alignment procedures and fixtures were devised concurrently with the head for manufacturing simplicity. The main physical structure is a casting, into which reference surfaces are machined. All optical subassemblies are attached to this casting, with a mixture of optical alignment and self-location. Semi-kinematic cylinder-in-V methodology is utilized. The active alignment steps are done in a sequence that tends to reduce errors from previous steps.