Optomechanics – Poor Optical Performance is a Mechanical Problem


Hey!  It’s been one Heck-of-a-Year…

…horrible images, tricky windows, cracked laser rods, soft adhesive, savvy clients, a challenge from the nanoradian and writing a book-and-a-half.  What’ll it be next?

Our industry is terrific fun.  Optics is an art that was just meant to work, until it doesn’t.  Then the solution is almost always mechanical:  a longer stroke on the focus mechanism; find a way to install a “corrector” lens; fold the system here or there; find a new adhesive; brace the objective doublet; stiffen the cold finger, control-grind and polish the edges, etc.

And that’s all as it should be.  Once the optical designer finishes his design it’s virtually impossible to improve it.  If that were not true the optical designer would probably not stay employed at the firm.  All deviations from the prescription are the mechanical engineer’s contribution.  Poor performance is therefore a mechanical problem; something is improperly located, dimensioned or deformed and the solution is also mechanical, correcting the mechanical engineer’s positional or dimensional specifications or stiffen the structure.

The errors are almost always detected after the system is assembled and that’s what makes it so much fun.  The mechanical engineer has to think ahead and analyze ahead to avoid the problems in that first assembly.

And that’s why we have a conference in San Diego this August with SPIE, to share with each other and our colleagues the discoveries and methods for making optical systems work in spite of it all!

Attached is the Conference Announcement.  Just click on “submit an abstract” on the bottom of the second page to reserve your position in the Program.

Look out 2017, here we come!

Al H.

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