Fabrication Capabilities

LightPath offers several techniques to manufacture optics for your project’s specific needs. LightPath’s specializes in precision glass molding of visible and infrared optics for economical manufacturing of high performance lenses in production volumes.  We also offer optics and optical assemblies manufactured from a variety of different of different mechanical techniques including single point diamond turning, CNC grinding and polishing, continuous and conventional polishing, and advanced coating techniques.

Molding

LightPath’s glass molding technology has enabled high volume production of aspheric optics while maintaining the highest quality at an affordable price. Molding is the most consistent and economical way to produce aspheres in large volumes, and LightPath has perfected this method to offer the most precise aspheric lens available. LightPath offers standard and custom-made lenses, all designed by our expert optical design engineers.

LightPath’s unique molding process allows us to custom manufacture lenses based on specific requirements. We can provide lenses in a number of different form factors from simple aspheric lenses to lens arrays, and can even mold lenses directly into metal housings, eliminating the need to use epoxy to mount the lens to your optical system. Some of LightPath’s advanced lens molding capabilities include:

  • Lens Arrays
  • Anamorphic Lenses
  • Insert Molding (molded into a metal holder)
  • Cylindrical Metal Holders
  • Square Holders
  • T-Holders
  • Custom Holders
  • Freeform Optics

LightPath has a catalog of over 100 different molded lenses in a variety of different shapes and sizes, and can mold custom lenses as large as 23mm in diameter.

Our molded aspheric lenses are available with numerical apertures ranging from 0.15 to over 0.80. Applications that would use a low numerical aperture include bar code scanners, surveying instruments, and small weapons sights.  High numerical aperture applications include telecommunications and industrial printing.

Grinding & Polishing

To meet our customers’ most challenging optics specifications our Polishing Department utilizes a variety of optical polishing technologies including spindle and continuous polishing, double side polishing, and optical contacting. The Polishing Department is equipped with 64 spindles, 6 double-side polishers, 24″ CP Polisher, and 150 mm CNC Polishers.

Our Polishing Department utilizes a variety of optical polishing technologies including:

  • Multiple lenses at once
  • 64 spindles, 6 Double-sided polishers, 24” continuous polisher
  • Double-sided polishing
  • Continuous polishing

Fully equipped with the latest CNC machines to deliver the highest quality optics from fast prototyping quantities to volume production.

  • Optotech CNC grinding & polishing machines for spherical & aspheric surfaces
  • Fast & high-volume production
  • Low surface roughness values

Diamond Turning

In order to support our customers, we have increased our production capacity and capabilities by utilizing the most modern single point diamond turning machines available in our temperature-controlled, ISO-9001 certified facilities.

Shapes we produce include rotationally symmetric spheres, aspheres, and diffractive lenses with diameters from 3mm to 300mm and off-axis parabolas with up to 550mm of swing. Additionally, we offer freeform machining capabilities to manufacture non-rotationally symmetric surfaces.

10 Moore Nanotech & Precitech single point diamond turning lathes
3-axis freeform machining capability up to 6″ in diameter
On-axis lenses and mirrors up to 250mm in diameter
Up to 550mm swing capacity for off-axis aspheres
Surface roughness on most materials under 20 Angstroms RMS
Surface irregularities as low as 1/2 fringe P-V
Dimensional and mechanical tolerances as low as +/-0.002mm

Examples of materials & sizes:

  • 5-6”: CaF2, BaF2, Si, IG Chalcogenide glass
  • 6-8”: ZnSe, ZnS, GaAs, GASIR, AMTIR
  • 8-12”: Ge, Al, and Ni plated parts and other Infrared and non-ferrous metal materials
  • 26”: Off-axis parabolas

Expanded capabilities:

  • Diamond Turning of chalcogenide glasses – Black Diamond & IG Series
  • Diamond Turning of KRS-5, CdTe, and associated infrastructure

Specification samples:

  • RMS Roughness to 10 angstroms
  • Surface Irregularity: 1 Fringe at 633nm
  • Mechanical Tolerances to <5 microns
  • Diffractive Analysis
  • Free-Form Machining: 3 Axis X-Z-C allows for non-rotational symmetric machining.
  • Ability to control rotational axis to 0.001 for 3-D machining

Lens Dicing and Edging

LightPath has the ability to dice lenses and glass to precision shapes and sizes within a tolerance of ±5μm. We have experience in dicing lens arrays, wafers and custom lens shapes. LightPath uses multi-blade dicing gangs to increase our capacity to dice in higher volumes. If your application requires a round lens with a smaller diameter, LightPath also offers custom lens edging to grind the lens down to the diameter of your choice.

Pilot Production

A Pilot Phase in the product development process sets the stage for a successful product launch. During this phase Pre-Production Lots are created using the actual Production Processes so that all components are made exactly as planned.  Production Tooling will be accepted, and Assembly Fixtures are Designed, Built, and Tested, as required. Inspection Procedures, Process, and Assembly Instructions are used, verified, and modified, as required.

Then packaging, stocking, and distribution of Finished Goods are checked. These critical checks and verifications are always best performed by the same individuals that created the product design. This ensures that the proper changes are made during the New Product Introduction (NPI) process.