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Freeform Optical Systems for Defense System Optics

Award Information

Department of Defense
Missile Defense Agency
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
7900 West 78th Street Suite 300 Minneapolis, MN -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: Freeform Optical Systems for Defense System Optics
Agency / Branch: DOD / MDA
Contract: W9113M-09-C-0028
Award Amount: $750,000.00


Freeform optical surfaces offer advantages over axisymmetric surfaces in the ability to reduce optical sizes, increase performance and reduce aberrations. However, the description, fabrication and metrology of these surfaces can be difficult and costly, prohibiting their ability to achieve their full potential. Fabrication of these surfaces can be difficult since they are not axisymmetric and have varying local radii of curvature, rendering grinding, lapping and polishing of these surfaces untenable. A method to overcome the difficulties in fabrication of freeform surfaces is to apply ductile mode machining (DMM) to eliminate grinding, lapping and polishing. DMM has been demonstrated on SiC mirror representative of freeform optics in Phase I. Through the use of physics-based modeling, DMM conditions can be identified where material removal results in ductile chip formation, damage free surfaces and excellent surface finish. This STTR activity extends the technology of DMM to freeform configurations enabled by physics-based modeling techniques. We will further develop, enhance and validate the modeling capability and apply it to CVD coated SiC freeform optics. Backed by modeling data, we will perform a set of machining experiments to ascertain the DMM operating envelope and subsequently demonstrate the fabrication of a full scale freeform optic.

Principal Investigator:

Troy D. Marusich
Chief Technical Officer

Business Contact:

Lisa Ferris
Chief Operating Officer
Small Business Information at Submission:

Third Wave Systems, Inc.
7900 West 78th St. Suite 300 Minneapolis, MN 55439

EIN/Tax ID: 411744080
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Western Michigan University
1903 West Michigan Ave
College of Engineering
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Contact: John Patten
Contact Phone: (269) 276-3246
RI Type: Nonprofit college or university