Casting of Low-Cost Optics in Nickel Electroforms with Diamond-Like Coating
Agency / Branch:
DOD / NAVY
Addressing the Navy need for innovative molding concepts for manufacturing low-cost, high quality, infrared chalcogenide glass optical elements for infrared pod and seeker imaging systems, Luminit LLC proposes to develop a new manufacturing process for multicavity tooling for mass production by Casting of Low-cost Optics using Nickel Electroforms with Diamond-like coating (CLONED). CLONED is a process for fabricating low-cost, multicavity, flexible net-shape cavity inserts that will be combined with a suitable mold base for mass production of IR glass optical components. Tooling cost can be over 65% less per cavity than the cost of making conventional tooling. For IR imaging systems that have several lens elements, this represents substantial savings because a single tool (mold base plus multiple cavity inserts) can be made that produces all of the required optical components in a single molding cycle. Moreover, the surface finish of final molded parts can be kept to less than 0.2 micron RMS surface figure. In Phase I the feasibility of the CLONED method will be demonstrated by making a four-cavity DLC coated nickel insert. In Phase II CLONED tooling will be integrated into a commercial glass molding press to demonstrate low-cost mass production of finished chalcogenide optical components.BENEFITS: Mass producing IR glass optics from tooling manufactured by the CLONED method will satisfy the present and future needs of the Navy for meeting cost targets for military infrared optical systems. Commercial markets that require inexpensive IR glass optics for non-contact temperature sensors, and for spectrometers and visible-wavelength optical instruments such as sensors, cameras, and microscopes will also benefit from the cost savings from CLONED manufacturing for making tooling inserts for glass molds.
Small Business Information at Submission:
20600 Gramercy Place, Suite 203 Torrance, CA 90501
Number of Employees: