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Symmons A.,LightPath Technologies
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2013

There are over one hundred types of glass that are sold as moldable grades. These moldable glasses are manufactured by a limited number of suppliers; each manufacturer with their own grade and designation. Many of these grades can be found to have groupings across the manufacturers, indicating possible equivalency. Equivalency of materials is an important consideration for an optical system as it would eliminate dependency on a single source, and generate cost competition. In order to establish optical equivalency it is necessary to establish significant similarity between materials. This paper compares moldable glass grades from several equivalent glass types from different manufacturers both theoretically and experimentally. Experimental data is based on precision glass molding of the same lens using different but equivalent grades of glass and using standard lens criteria for comparison. Conclusions on whether specific glass types are truly equivalent are then established. © 2013 SPIE. Source


Cogburn G.,LightPath Technologies
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2011

When choosing a material to design infrared optics, an optical designer has to decide which material properties are most important to what they are trying to achieve. Factors include; cost, optical performance, index of material, sensor format, manufacturability, mechanical mounting and others. This paper will present an optical design that is made for a 640×480, 17μm sensor and is athermalized by using the material properties of chalcogenide glass and Germanium (Ge). The optical design will be a 3-element, f1.0 optic with an EFL of 20mm at 10μm. It consists of two Ge spherical lenses and a middle chalcogenide aspheric element. By using Ge and chalcogenide, this design utilizes the high index of Ge and combines it with the lower dn/dt of chalcogenide glass to provide an athermalized design without the use of additional electro-optical compensation inside the assembly. This study will start from the optical design process and explain the mechanical and optical properties of the design, then show the manufacturing process of molding an aspheric chalcogenide element. After the three elements are manufactured, they will be assembled and tested throughout the temperature range of -40 to 85°C to compare optical performance to design expectations. Ultimately, this paper will show that a high performance, athermalized optical assembly is possible to manufacture at a lower cost with the use of combining different infrared materials that allow for spherical Ge lenses and only one aspherical chalcogenide element which can be produced in higher volumes at lower costs through glass molding technology. © 2011 SPIE. Source


Cogburn G.,LightPath Technologies
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2011

As Chalcogenide glass and Precision Molded Optics (PMO) have developed and matured to a point of being accepted as replacements for Germanium Single Point Diamond Turned (SPDT) optics; technological research is being dedicated to developing infrared PMO that can be used in a broader application base. These include laser arrays, large aperture molded chalcogenide optics, and molded in mount infrared optics. This paper presents applications for infrared laser arrays and the corresponding optics that must be closely mechanically mounted to avoid clipping the beams. Different molding and mounting techniques will be discussed to solve this issue which include; dicing chalcogenide optic lenses, molded in mount chalcogenide optics and stepped optic shape molding for mounting purposes. Accompanying the research and discussion of these techniques will be experiments and molded chalcogenide glass lenses showing the results and application for each lens type. © 2011 SPIE. Source


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2007

The market for dual use IR systems is expected to nearly double by 2009 [1]. However, rapid growth is being hindered by the high cost of needed optical components. Therefore, there is a significant need for lower cost processes for making these components. To that end, LightPath Technologies, Inc. has recently initiated development of a replication process to manufacture lower-cost and consistently producible molded chalcogenide glass lenses for both Federal and Commercial applications. In the Phase II Program proposed here, LightPath Technologies’ goal is to demonstrate an innovative, lower-cost production process for molding chalcogenide glass optical components by applying LightPath’s intellectual property and know-how already used for volume production in visible glasses by including our processes, tooling, and equipment identified and used in the Phase I effort.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.83K | Year: 2006

Rapid growth in the markets for dual use IR systems is being hindered by the high cost of the needed optical components. Therefore there is a significant demand for lower cost processes for making these components. To that end, LightPath Technologies, Inc. has recently initiated development of a replication process to manufacture lower-cost and consistently producible molded chalcogenide glass lenses for both Federal and Commercial applications. In the Phase I Program proposed here LightPath Technologies’ goal is to demonstrate the feasibility of using this process for mass producing high quality chalcogenide glass lenses at a significantly reduced cost compared to existing methods. Initially the development will focus on a lens size of approximately one inch. The feasibility of pressing larger diameters will be examined subsequent to this. The development approach proposed is aimed at all aspects of lens molding, from optical design, materials evaluation, perform procurement, mold design and fabrication, prototype lens molding, and prototype lens characterization. Molded chalcogenide glass lenses can be used in many Federal applications, including infrared targeting pods, thermal weapon sights, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), tactical imaging systems, and space-based systems. Commercial applications include fire fighting, predictive maintenance, commercial aircraft anti-missile systems, nondestructive testing, and infrared thermometers. BENEFITS: Molded chalcogenide lenses can be utilized in numerous Federal applications, including infrared targeting pods, thermal weapon sights, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), tactical imaging systems, and space-based systems. Commercial applications include fire fighting, predictive maintenance, commercial aircraft anti-missile systems, nondestructive testing, and infrared thermometers.

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