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Athermal Superiority: SiC vs. Aluminum-Glass Telescopes for SmallSat Applications

Posted: October 15, 2017

 INTRODUCTION Optical Telescope Assemblies (OTAs) implemented in silicon carbide (SiC) provide performance advantages for space applications but have been predominately implemented in the government sector. A new generation of lightweight and thermally-stable designs is commercially available, expanding the application of SiC to small satellites. One of the major challenges in satellite telescope design is the ability to maintain performance in the thermal environment of low-earth…

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Aspheric Optics Manufacturing

Posted: March 26, 2017

Making aspheres with Robotic Polishing Aperture Optical Sciences Inc. applies two unique technologies, Zeeko robotic grinding and polishing and QED’s magnetorheological (MRF) polishing. Both technologies address the growing demand for high performance aspheric lenses and mirrors for industry and science. We offer MRF polishing through our partner Okamoto Optics and provide Zeeko Robotic polishing on optics up to 800 mm in diameter in our advanced fabrication facility in Central Connecticut. Making optical mirrors…

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Zero-Expansion Ceramic Mirrors

Posted: March 26, 2017

INTRODUCTION Cordierite (2MgO-2Al2O3-5SiO2) is the name for a variety of low expansion ceramics that can be used for optical applications with some highly compelling advantages. Cordierite material can be made with a nearly zero expansion coefficient and has higher modulus and thermal conductivity when compared with traditional glass-ceramics. As a sintered material, lightweight structures can be efficiently machined in the “green” pre-sintered state and options…

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AOS Quality Grades for Aspheres

Posted: August 28, 2016

AOS offers multiple quality grade options depending on the application desired. These quality grades can differ significantly in price to allow customers to select the most affordable option for their application and budget. Conventional ways of specifying optical quality in aspheric optics often do not address mid-spatial error tolerances, which are key to predicting imaging quality. Defining the specification for gradient limits the amplitudes of…

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Specifying Wavefront vs. Surface Error in Aspheres

Posted: July 11, 2016

The most common tolerances for specifying the optical quality of aspheric mirrors such as off axis parabolas are surface accuracy and reflected wavefront error. Surface error is the deviation of the surface from its perfect form. Wavefront error is the deviation of the resulting reflected or transmitted wavefront from its perfect shape. At first glance, the decision to specify optics based on its wavefront quality…

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