Controlling Cost for Large Optics

By Ross Team | Oct 20, 2017 7:30:51 AM

Generally speaking, a "large" optic is anything with dimensions exceeding 10 cm. Designing a large optical system is not intrinsically harder than designing a smaller system, but the stakes are higher. The classic example of a large optics project gone wrong is the Hubble Space Telescope, in which an error in metrology resulted in a mirror that was made "exactly wrong" to very high precision.

Keep in mind that, when designing a system that includes large optical elements, the effects of the usual cost factors increase and some new factors appear. The following design points will help.

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Three Opto-Mechanical Design Challenges

By Ross Team | Jul 20, 2017 9:43:00 AM

Opto-mechanics refers to the mechanical design of optical systems. Opto-mechanical design is sometimes dismissed as little more than "wrapping metal" around the optics, but that perspective is detrimental to building the best operating optical instrument.

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Going Off Map: 5 Non-Optical Considerations for Optical Materials Discovery

By Lisa Yang | Jun 8, 2017 9:00:00 AM

A “glass map” is often the first tool in optical design. The map is a quick way to determine a suitable range of optical materials in terms of refractive index (n) and dispersion (“Abbe number”, “nu number”, or “V-number”). Finding the ideal region on the glass map is only the first step, though. Several “non-optical” factors must be balanced to determine which materials are most promising. We’ll consider 5 of the most important.

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Differences and Similarities between Cylinder and Spherical Lens Fabrication

By Damon Diehl | May 11, 2017 8:56:00 AM

Because cylindrical and spherical optics both have circular profiles when viewed end-on, it is a common misconception that identical production methods apply to both. Both methods do use similar principles of grinding and polishing, but there are a number of very important differences. Here are three of the most significant areas of difference.

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Saving the Optics Supply Chain: Win the Game by Losing Tolerances

By Lisa Yang | Feb 10, 2017 9:32:06 AM

It’s winning the game that matters, not the individual players. A manager can spend a fortune to get all the very best players, but if they don’t work well together, the team won’t consistently win. Similarly, in optics, it is the system performance that matters, not every single component. Here are two instances when choosing the right kind of “imperfect” optics provides winning performance and a safer supply chain.

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More Than Meets the Eye: Surface Specification & Optical Performance

By Damon Diehl | Nov 30, 2016 9:04:00 AM

For better or worse, we do “judge a book by its cover.” Appearance can override our better judgment. It’s tempting to judge the quality of an optical element based on its appearance, but that overlooks the element’s role within the overall optical system. In this article we’ll consider three types of surface irregularities and explore how each type can affect optical performance.

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Designing for Reality: Four Ways to Ensure Functional Optical Components & Systems

By Damon Diehl | Nov 2, 2016 11:45:00 AM

There is more to optical design than designing the optics. A design that works on a computer screen may not work in real life. Here are four best practices to help you design for manufacturability and performance.

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Women in Optics: How Lisa Yang Went from Curious Science Student to Optical Design Expert

By Damon Diehl | Oct 17, 2016 11:40:00 AM

We asked Lisa Yang, Chief Technology Officer at Ross Optical, to share a bit about how she got into the field of optics and the work she does now.

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Three Times You Might Need to Reverse Engineer an Optical Component

By Damon Diehl | Sep 27, 2016 11:01:00 AM

3 Reasons to Reverse Engineer

“Reverse engineering” is a term with a bad reputation. It calls to mind patent violations and expensive legal wranglings. There are legitimate situations, though, when a company might need to work backwards to design an optical component that matches the performance of a commercial item.

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Avoiding Cost Traps in Optical Design

By Damon Diehl | Jun 21, 2016 2:00:00 PM

In previous posts we have offered advice on designing optical systems for ease of assembly, performance, and manufacturability. Incorporating cost considerations into optical design is another important part of the process. The topic of cost optimization could fill an entire course (like Rich Youngworth’s), but for starters, here are four critical design traps that will always increase your system cost.

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