Aspheric surfaces can provide significant benefits to optical systems, but manufacturing high-precision aspheric surfaces is often limited by the availability of surface metrology. Traditionally, aspheric measurements have required dedicated null correction optics, but the cost, lead time, inflexibility, and calibration difficulty of null optics make aspheres less attractive. In the past three years, we have developed the Subaperture Stitching Interferometer for Aspheres (SSI-A®) to help address this limitation, providing flexible aspheric measurement capability up to 200 waves of aspheric departure from best-fit sphere. Some aspheres, however, have hundreds or even thousands of waves of departure. We have recently developed Variable Optical Null (VON TM ) technology that can null much of the aspheric departure in a subaperture. The VON is automatically reconfigurable and is adjusted to nearly null each specific subaperture of an asphere. The VON provides a significant boost in aspheric measurement capability, enabling aspheres with up to 1000 waves of departure to be measured, without the use of null optics that are dedicated to each asphere prescription. We outline the basic principles of subaperture stitching and the Variable Optical Null, demonstrate the extended capability provided by the VON, and present measurement results from our new Aspheric Stitching Interferometer (ASI TM ).
Proceedings of SPIE – SPIE
Published: Aug 20, 2009
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