Tolerance analysis by means of simulation is an essential step in system integration. Tolerance analysis allows for predicting the performance of a system setup of real manufactured parts and for an estimation of the yield with respect to evaluation figures, such as performance requirements, systems specification or cost demands. Currently, optical freeform optics is gaining importance in optical systems design. The performance of freeform optics often strongly depends on the manufacturing accuracy of the surfaces. For this reason, a tolerance analysis with respect to the fabrication accuracy is of crucial importance. The characterization of form tolerances caused by the manufacturing process is based on the definition of straightness, flatness, roundness, and cylindricity. In case of freeform components, however, it is often impossible to define a form deviation by means of this standard classification. Hence, prediction of the impact of manufacturing tolerances on the optical performance is not possible by means of a conventional tolerance analysis. To carry out a tolerance analysis of the optical subsystem, including freeform optics, metrology data of the fabricated surfaces have to be integrated into the optical model. The focus of this article is on design for manufacturability of freeform optics with integrated alignment structures and on tolerance analysis of the optical subsystem based on the measured surface data of manufactured optical freeform components with respect to assembly and manufacturing tolerances. This approach will be reported here using an ophthalmological system as an example.
Optical freeform surfaces are gaining importance in different optical applications. A huge demand arises e.g. in the fields of automotive and medical engineering. Innovative systems often need high-quality and high-volume optics. Injectionmoulded polymer optics represents a cost-efficient solution. However, it has to be ensured that the tight requirements with respect to the system’s performance are met by the replicated freeform optics. To reach this goal, it is not sufficient to only characterise the manufactured optics by peak-to-valley or rms data describing a deviation from the nominal surface. Instead, optical performance of the manufactured freeform optics has to be analysed and compared with the performance of the nominal surface. This can be done by integrating the measured surface data of the manufactured freeform optics into the optical simulation model. The feedback of the measured surface data into the model allows for a simulation of the optical performance of the optical subsystem containing the real freeform optics manufactured. Hence, conclusions can be drawn as to whether the specifications with respect to e.g. imaging quality are met by the real manufactured optics. This approach will be presented using an Alvarez-Humphrey optics as an example of a tuneable optics of an ophthalmological application. The focus of this article will be on design for manufacturing the freeform optics, the integration of the measured surface data into the optical simulation model, simulation of the optical performance, and analysis in comparison to the nominal surface.