Freeform Optics Enable a New Wave of Integration
Freeform optics, as their name implies, are free from any constraints of symmetry in their form and shape. Freeform systems provide better optical performance than traditional designs which are key to applications such as augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), automotive LIDAR and military optical systems and medical technologies.
As an emerging technology for some time, freeforms have been limited by manufacturing technology until today. Recent advancements in CNC machining now allow the production of small quantities of freeform optics, but do not provide an adequate solution for volume production.
At LightPath Technologies, we’ve taken decades of experience in precision molding of lenses and extended this technology to begin producing high volume, precision molded freeform optics.
Since our early days as Geltech Corporation over 25 years ago, LightPath has been the leader of precision molded optics, continuously innovating and pushing the limits of precision glass molding. Today, leveraging our positioning in three continents, our capacity to produce millions of molded lenses can be further broadened to support high volume applications with precision molded freeform optics.
The following chart depicts the specifications range we currently offer for custom freeform optics. Please note: With the flexibility of being fully vertically integrated (we even produce our own molding machines), we are constantly looking to expand these capabilities and push the limits further. If your application requires specifications different than the chart below, please contact us to discuss.
Freeform Tolerance Chart
|Clear Aperture||90% of outer diameter|
|Center Thickness (mm)||+/-0.030|
|Surface Error P-V (nm)||<1000|
|Surface Error RMS (nm)||<300|
|Surface Roughness (nm)||<3|
|AR Coating||Standard multilayer broadband coatings and custom available|
Similar to our molded aspheric lenses, our molded freeform optics can be produced from a range of materials in the visible, NIR, SWIR, MWIR and LWIR wavelengths. Please see below key information on available glass, with more detailed information available on our Materials page.
Index and Dispersion of LightPath Moldable Glasses
LightPath has developed the metrology necessary to test new lenses using computer-generated holograms (CGH) to accurately measure freeform optics in production volume as well as contact profilometry methods to ensure consistent quality and performance.
The use of CGH allows us to transform a spheric wavefront into a custom wavefront designed to match the surface of the freeform optics. Once it is reflected and passes through the CGH again, a spherical wavefront is recreated, which is then measured using our standard interferometers.