Precision Optics in One Step
2014 R&D 100 Winner
Highly precise optics usually start with a rough-cut slab of glass that’s painstakingly transformed to a polished, smooth surface that’s flat to less than one wavelength of visible light. This means a height variation of only a few hundred nanometers over a surface that measures centimeters in size. The many steps involved in this process have been refined over time, but, until now, the final full aperture polishing step has consumed the most time of any step. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have developed a new polishing system capable of finishing flat and spherical glass optics in a single iteration, regardless of the workpieces’ initial shape. Convergent Polishing: Rapid, Simple, Low Cost Finishing of High Quality Glass Optics is able to “converge” several steps because factors contributing to non-uniform spatial material removal on the workpiece have been eliminated and the creation of rogue particles within the polisher system have been removed. This eliminates scratching and low roughness surfaces. The polisher doesn’t use real-time feedback, diagnostics or computer control to change polishing parameters, which aids in the robustness and reliability of the polishing process.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
|Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Convergent Polishing: Rapid, Simple, Low Cost Finishing of High Quality Glass Optics development team.|
The Convergent Polishing: Rapid, Simple, Low Cost Finishing of High Quality Glass Optics Development Team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Tayyab Suratwala, Principal Developer
Michael Dennis Feit