Metrology in Precision Optics

Posted by Steve Rowe on

Metrology measurement, using metrology equipmentMaking it is only half the battle  

Metrology is the scientific study of measurement through collected data on the form and characterization of an object. Exact measurements in high precision technologies as well as accuracy in manufacturing are a fundamental requirement. 

The challenge for optics manufacturing requires not only accurate fabrication and polishing but precise measurement. The focus in manufacturing methods tends to be on the machines, efficiency and repeatability; however, that means very little if a part cannot be measured accurately. To be successful, manufacturers must stay current with improvements in metrology technology including profilometers, interferometers, software and more.

Beyond manufacturers investments, customers, who use precision optics in semiconductor, aerospace, coatings and biotech industries, all have in-house metrology not only to inspect their work but also to confirm inbound components specifications. Developing a relationship and working with our customers is a crucial part of what we strive to achieve. Discussions with customers on measurement calibrations and gauge correlations help prevent defects and allow both parties to fully understand how optical performance is being measured. These correlations also generate predictable guard banding which is an offset from the specifications that determine the acceptable limits for a pass or fail on a part. In manufacturing precision, parts that are off a thousandth of an inch in any direction can fail an optic. It is a crucial step in manufacturability to let customers know what variations can be expected before going into production. Esco provides a host of pre- and post-production services such as material traceability, part serialization, lot data and laser engraving. Additionally, we offer post-coating documentation and analysis as well as data packages on coated optics upon request. We run two shifts in our QC department to ensure all optics meet specifications and data analyses are cataloged.

Interoptics optoflatOur latest addition is the Interoptics OptoFlat which can measure transmission and reflection specs at a sub-nanometer with speed and efficiency. The OptoFlat measures plane-parallel transparent polished surfaces without special treatment of the backside. An ideal tool to measure surface flatness of coated and uncoated optics, beamsplitters, windows, prisms, and thin glass wafers. The low coherence interference eliminates coherent noise, so surface features are reliably displayed, and is a perfect addition to our QC department which also uses metrology equipment from Mahr, Optipro, Zygo and Savvy Optics. 

The Esco team prides itself on a passion for precision. Reach out to our sales team today to see how we can work together on your next project.  

Optical metrology

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