CUSTOM PRODUCTS AND OPTICS
Following the request of designing custom optical components for specific applications, our customers often require their production; sometimes this request can be the result of previous product development projects or the need for product optimization.
We provide plastic lenses for different applications, glass optics, pressed blanks, IR, UV and visible windows, dichroics and flats in general. We can also provide diffusers and micro-optics for beam shaping as well as optics for LASER applications.
Based on the application’s features we can select the best optics to grant our customers the most effective cost-performance ratio.
Besides spare optical components, we can supply complete optics solutions for any of the above-mentioned applica-tionsapplications. We can also supply the necessary mechanics as well as the electronics if so requested. We provide integral optics solutions for imaging, optical systems support, including assistance with the athermalization process; more in general we provide optomechanics systems.
We are available to analyze with you the application you need and find the solution that best fits your project.
Plastic offers as many advantages as drawbacks. As for the advantages, we have the limited cost of the single compo-nentscomponents, the possibility to obtain complex forms such as the generic aspherical ones and microstructures, and the possibili-ty of a better athermalization using the same material for the optical part as well as for the mounting part.
ADVANTAGES OF PLASTIC OPTICS
Plastic is undoubtedly the type of material that allows for lower-cost production compared to glass, especially when it comes to high-volume manufacturing. Even if initial investments could be high due to the cost of creating moulds, these can be quickly recouped if the volume of pieces needed is compatible. We can offer different solutions/materials for the manufacturing of the moulds, but the best choice in terms of the cost-performance ratio we can suggest will be based on the number of pieces our customers require and the quality required by their specific application.
As for the disadvantages involved in the use of plastic, these include the limited number of types of plastic available for opti-cal purposes (compared to glass), the limited thermal-range due to the risk of deformation, to the high thermal-expansion coefficient and to the complexity of the moulding process, which can easily result in une-ven shapes – especially with thick components.
The quality of both the finishing and moulding process of mould surfaces both prove essential to obtain high-quality plastic optics, by defining the extent of shape precision and surface residual roughness that can be acquired.
Glass is the quintessential material that can be used in the optics field: provided that plastic can allow for a substantial reduction of costs, the optical quality and the thermal stability of glass still proves to be unparalleled for (the creation of) ima-ging optics. However, hybrid solutions integrating polymers and glass, can offer a combination of the advantages of the different materials, playing down the involved shortcomings. Glass is also suitable for non-imaging applications when a high-temperature operation environment, mechanical stress, and weather conditions are at play.
Imaging glass optics are mainly realized by material removal, more specifically so when considering spherical profiles. However, the use of plastic deformation is also possible when considering aspherical profiles. Plastic deformation of glass can be obtained by softening the material and shaping it by pressing to obtain the mould-shaped profile needed. The tolerance values achieved in this instance are higher than those obtained through/in the polishing process. In any case, it is possible to create high precision generic shapes in glass to remove material in diamond turning: it is a particularly costly solution best suited for scientific or military applications.