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Corrective Optics Manufacturing for Aerodynamic Infrared Domes and Conformal Sensor Windows


OBJECTIVE: Improve the process of manufacturing corrective optical elements to be used in conjunction with aerodynamic missile domes and conformal sensor windows. Implement procedures to increase the optical precision of corrective optics and reduce the cost and time for manufacturing. DESCRIPTION: Future infrared and electro-optical sensor domes and windows with aerodynamic and conformal shapes will require corrective optical elements to counter the optical distortion produced by the shape of the dome or window. The goal of this project is to improve precision optical manufacturing processes to reduce the cost and time of manufacturing optical correctors. Proposals might address precision optical fabrication and/or metrology. A generic corrector arch for an aerodynamic dome is 100 mm tall with a width of 25 mm. The exact shape, which will be provided after contact award, does not have rotational symmetry and might have no symmetry. The curvature and cross section of the arch are expected to vary in a continuous manner along the length of the arch. Correctors will be made of infrared-transparent materials such as magnesium fluoride and zinc sulfide. Finished correctors are required to have a root-mean-square transmitted wavefront error of 200 nm or less. Methods are sought to reduce the cost of manufacturing optical correctors and improve their optical precision. Proposals can address optical fabrication or precision metrology or both of these challenges. Metrology solutions capable of measuring objects whose two surfaces deviate more than 5 degrees from being parallel are particularly solicited. PHASE I: Evaluate approaches to reduce manufacturing cost and time and increase optical accuracy of corrective optical elements. Demonstrate proof of principle of proposed approach and estimate how much time or cost would be reduced when the process is fully implemented. PHASE II: Refine and implement manufacturing or metrology processes. Demonstrate production of four corrector arches made of one or more selected materials. If the effort focuses on metrology, demonstrate reduction in measurement time and/or improved accuracy in metrology. Demonstrate suitable feedback of metrology into iterative figure correction of a corrector arch. PHASE III: Implement manufacturing or metrology processes for commercial production. PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Processes developed for optical corrector manufacturing have potential to reduce the cost of manufacturing aspheric optics for civilian and space applications. REFERENCES: 1. P. A. Trotta,"Precision Conformal Optics Technology Program,"Proc. SPIE 2001, Volume 4375, p. 96. 2. D. J. Knapp, J. P. Mills, R. G. Hegg, P. A. Trotta, and C. B. Smith,"Conformal Optics Risk Reduction Demonstration,"Proc. SPIE 2001, Volume 4375, p. 146. 3. P. H. Marushin et al.,"Demonstration, of a Conformal Window Imaging System: Design, Fabrication, and Testing"Proc. SPIE 2001, Volume 4375, p. 154. 4. S. Bambrick, M. Bechtold, S. DeFisher, and D. Mohring,"Ogive and Free-Form Polishing with UltraForm Finishing,"Proc. SPIE 2011, Volume 8016, paper 80160P. 5. S. DeFisher, M. Bechtold, and D. Mohring,"A Non-Contact Surface Measurement System for Freeform and Conformal Optics,"Proc. SPIE 2011, Volume 8016, paper 80160W. 6. M. Gutin, O. Gutin, X.-M. Wang, and D. Ehlinger,"Interferometric Tomography A New Tool for Metrology on Conformal Optics,"Proc. SPIE 2011, Volume 8016, paper 80160X.
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