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Experimental use of precision replication technology to recover optical parts from rejects in batch production

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Abstract

Subject of study. The article considers the possibility of using the precision replication technology of aspherical surfaces in the batch and mass production of optical parts to recover defective lenses and mirrors, namely, to correct working surface defects such as the shape, surface finish class, and roughness parameters. Aim of the study. To inform the managers and technologists of optical enterprises about the unique restoration abilities of this technology. Method. An experimental method is implemented to restore optical elements from rejects according to the shape of the aspherical surface using precision replication technology (i.e., the manufacture of combined optical elements with one replicated aspherical surface). Several samples of a glass lens were restored, to which an appropriate antireflection coating was applied. Comprehensive tests of the restored optical parts with the antireflection coating were conducted. The moduli of the optical transfer function of optical devices were experimentally measured using them. Main results. A trial batch of biconvex glass lenses with a single replicated aspherical surface intended for a commercial product eyepiece was recovered from rejects discarded owing to aspherical surface shape defects. An interferometric testing of the recovered samples was conducted using a Twyman–Green interferometer with a computer-generated holographic optical element compensator. Based on the results obtained, the three best samples were selected for further testing. The results of the comprehensive tests of one of them are presented in the paper, including the measurement results of the optical transfer function modulus of an eyepiece assembled using this sample. Practical relevance. During the batch and mass production of objectives and eyepieces of various purposes, a noticeable number of optical parts (lenses and mirrors) inevitably get rejected by the quality department owing to their working surface defects (root-mean-square deviation, surface finish class, and roughness level). Implementing the proposed technology opens up a viable opportunity to recover a substantial amount of such parts.

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