What's it about?

Recently the use of freeform surfaces have become a realization for optical designers. These non-symmetrical optical surfaces have allowed unique solutions to optical design problems. The implementation of freeform optical surfaces has been limited by manufacturing capabilities and quality. However over the past several years freeform fabrication processes have improved in capability and precision. But as with any manufacturing, proper metrology is required to monitor and verify the process. Typical optics metrology such as interferometry has its challenges and limitations with the unique shapes of freeform optics. Two contact metrology methods for freeform metrology are presented; a Leitz coordinate measurement machine (CMM) with an uncertainty of ± 0.5 µm and a high resolution profilometer (Panasonic UA3P) with a measurement uncertainty of ± 0.05 µm.

We are also developing a non-contact high resolution technique based on the fringe reflection technique known as deflectometry. This fast non-contact metrology has the potential to compete with accuracies of the contact methods but also can acquire data in seconds rather than minutes or hours.