Manufacturing aspheric optics can present challenges depending on the complexity of their shape. This is especially true during the finishing stage. To tackle this challenge, OptiPro Systems has developed two technologies for deterministic optical polishing: UltraForm Finishing (UFF) and UltraSmooth Finishing (USF). UFF is a deterministic sub aperture polishing process that polishes spherical, aspheric, and free form surface geometries. In contrast, the USF process is a deterministic mid to large size aperture polishing process that works with a conforming lap. These two technologies have the ability to tackle a wide range of optical shapes by removing sub-surface damage, removing various mid-spatial frequency artifacts that might be left from a grinding process, and correct the optic’s figure error in a controlled fashion. This presentation will describe these technologies, present performance information as to their capabilities, and show how OptiPro is developing these technologies to push the state of the art in manufacturing.
There is a need for precisely figured large sapphire windows with dimensions of up to 20 inches with thicknesses of 0.25 inches that will operate in the 1- to 5-micron wavelength range. In an effort to reduce manufacturing cost during grinding and polishing, OptiPro Systems is developing technologies that provide an optimized deterministic approach to making them. This development work is focusing on two main areas of research. The first is optimizing existing technologies, like deterministic microgrinding and UltraForm Finishing (UFF), for shaping operations and precision controlled sub-aperture polishing. The second area of research consists of a new large aperture deterministic polishing process currently being developed at OptiPro called UltraSmooth Finishing (USF). The USF process utilizes deterministic control with a large aperture polishing tool. This presentation will discuss the challenges associated with manufacturing large sapphire windows and present results on the work that is being performed to minimize manufacturing costs associated with them.