What's it about?

Optical systems must perform under environmental conditions including thermal and mechanical loading. To predict the performance in the field, integrated analysis combining optical and mechanical software is required. Freeform and conformal optics offer many new opportunities for optical design. The unconventional geometries can lead to unconventional, and therefore unintuitive, mechanical behavior. Finite element (FE) analysis offers the ability to predict the deformations of freeform optics under various environments and load conditions. To understand the impact on optical performance, the deformations must be brought into optical analysis codes. This paper discusses several issues related to the integrated optomechanical analysis of freeform optics.


Increasing performance requirements in high precision astronomical instruments have created the need for increased capability in predicting their performance when subjected to operational environments. Both ground based and space based environments contain thermal variations and mechanical disturbances that must be considered in the design development of such high precision systems. Figure 1 shows a flow chart of integrated analysis.[1] which is often referred to as STOP analysis. STOP is an acronym for Structural-Thermal-Optical-Performance analysis.