3DOptics - Integrative Manufacturing of Freeform Microoptics

Area of relevance: 
1 January 2008 - 31 December 2010
Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT
Funded by: 
German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany


Today’s trends in optical systems drive towards miniaturized, highly functionalized optical components. Especially glass optics are capable of delivering improved beam shaping, while withstanding high power densities of diode lasers, or excellent imaging performance. Recent developments have increased the popularity of the precision glass molding technology among European manufacturers, aiming at highly demanding markets. The 3DOptics project pursues the development of a process chain for replicative manufacturing of free formed glass optics. Adapted layouts for the molding tools are defined, including alignment features to orientate the molding tools as well as to align metrology data. An efficient 3D-simulation of the molding process predicts glass shrinkage for non-rotational symmetrical parts. A main focus of the project are manufacturing technologies for highly accurate molding tools. Different kinematics for ultra-precise machining of freeform surfaces in pure ceramic tungsten carbide are developed. These tools are used to develop suitable molding process strategies. The integrative approach for this process sequence is reflected in the continuous CAx data chain running along all process steps, linking FEA simulation and manufacturing technologies in one environment and reducing data format conversion errors. Furthermore, metrology data of molding tools as well as molded glass lenses can be fed back into the manufacturing chain to obtain highest accuracies.