Optical applications for aerospace industry
Optical applications for aerospace industry are diverse and have to meet highest requirements. A central challenge is the development of compact optical components and systems to optimize space and weight restrictions. Whether supporting earth/climate observation or navigation, performance, safety and reliability of optical components must be maintained at a consistently high level and reproducible.
asphericons product portfolio for aerospace industry includes:
- Demanding optical and mechanical designs and initial feasibility studies
- Temperature-resistant, compact optics and freeforms with best imaging properties
- Finishing processes, such as High-End Finishing, for lowest roughness
- Mirrors of highest quality for perfect images
- Long-life optical coatings from UV to IR
Regarding the selection of a suitable material for aerospace markets, the main challenge is to react as flexibly as possible to application specifications. Thanks to a worldwide unique, software-based digital manufacturing environment for CNC grinding and polishing machines as well as ultra-precise machining, asphericon is able to produce optics from a wide variety of materials. In addition to various glasses, silica, PMMA, metals, CaF2 and IR-crystals are among them:
- IR chalcogenide glasses (such as IG 2/4/5/6/7),
- Calcium fluoride,
- Germanium and
- Other materials on request
Especially when processing IR materials, outstanding surface shape tolerances must and can be guaranteed.
Optical components and systems for aerospace industry have to withstand extreme climatic conditions in use. Their exact validation and certification are indispensable for these markets, processes and standards require a very high level. asphericon offers a variety of extensive (environmental) tests within the production process. These include:
- Realization and documentation of environmental tests according DIN, MIL-C-675C, MIL-C-48497A, MIL-PRF-13830, DO-160G
- In-house tests for temperature, humidity, salt spray/solubility and water
- Laser induced deflection (LID)
- Cavity ring down method (CRD)
An extensive coating portfolio completes asphericons offer for aerospace industry. Depending on individual properties of the base material and the requirements of an optical system, we select the appropriate coating technology for each project. Thereby, electron beam evaporation, ion beam assisted deposition and/or sputtering for substrate sizes up to 300 mm in diameter are used. Most modern manufacturing and measuring technologies enable optical coatings in the spectral range of 380 - 5100 nm.
Applications in aerospace are as diverse as optics and systems themselves. They can be found, for example, in determining the size of cultivated areas for plants or in the analysis of climate change. The basis for these and other applications are often optical systems integrated into satellites, such as spectrometers. To observe the earth and the climate, the systems not only have to be extremely robust, but also require a very high resolution. Another field of application for photonics in aerospace industry are display solutions. Semi-transparent optics, such as aspheric mirrors, can be installed into head-up displays to provide important information and flight data in the pilot's field of vision. The optics/system solutions also ensure greater safety. More information about head-up displays can be found here.