Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Laser-manufactured customized lenses


The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is presenting selected project results in the areas of laser material processing of glass optics and packaging at the 13th Optatec international trade fair in Frankfurt from June 7 to 9, 2016. Highlights include the freeformOPT software that can be used to calculate individual free-form optics, as well as new laser processes for shaping, polishing, structuring and assembling fused silica optics.

Scientists at Fraunhofer ILT in Aachen are researching new laser processes for shaping, polishing, structuring and assembling optics and components made of various optical glasses and fused silica.

Fused silica with a slit, made by processing with inverse laser drilling; thickness: 6.35 mm, angle of the undercut: approx. 10°.

Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.

Structuring the reverse side to reduce the weight of optics; measurements: 20 mm x 30 mm x 8 mm, depth removed: 2 mm.

Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.

One focus is on developing a completely laser-based digital process chain for producing aspheres and free-form optics. At the international trade fair for optical technologies, components and systems, scientists are presenting project results and demonstrators from the various areas of research.

Laser-based process chain for the production of free-form optics

To shape the form of the optics the glass is removed in layers with an ablation rate of up to several mm³/s. A subsequent laser polishing process smooths the surface by remelting a thin surface layer without removing material – at surface rates of up to 5 cm2/s. The result is a roughness extending into the subnanometer range. Through a final thin-layer removal, called laser beam figuring, layer thicknesses in the nanometer range can again be locally removed through an evaporation process (to ablation depths below 5 nm, with a lateral spatial resolution of less than 100 µm). This step is being developed to reduce any remaining long-wave roughnesses and form errors that cannot be removed during laser polishing.

Design of free-form optics

The freeformOPT software developed in Aachen allows various free-form optical surfaces to be calculated with over 100,000 degrees of freedom and also provides interfaces to CAD and optical software. The CAD drawings can be directly used on the appropriate production machines.

Geometrical freedom and economic efficiency through the use of lasers

In contrast to conventional grinding and polishing processes, processes in contactless laser processing are largely wear-free. Low spot diameters and controllable intensity profiles permit a high degree of geometrical freedom for surfaces. Process cycle times are short and almost independent of the complexity of the surface, be it sphere, asphere or free-form optic.

Possible areas of application for optical elements produced in this way can be found, for instance, in interior and exterior lighting, car manufacturing or laser optics. By structuring the reverse side of optical components, the weight of components can be reduced for, say, lightweight designs.

Wide variety of laser material processing at Optatec 2016

With inverse laser drilling, holes are drilled into dielectric materials with high aspect ratios (~1:200). One application for this process is drilling holes that measure 100 µm in mirror substrates without causing conchoidal fractures. This is used to overlap or separate beams, but also to structure photonic fiber preforms with a high degree of geometrical freedom.

Robust optomechanical components that will be applied in pulsed lasers for satellite-based climate research will also be on display. Special tilt stabilities of individual key components are achieved through solder joints. In addition, foregoing the use of organic substances achieves low outgassing rates and thus long service lives.

With glass frit bonding, the spatially restricted injection of laser light into the joint area is used to obtain homogenous and crack-free joints, making it possible to encapsulate sensitive OLED layers or microsensors. Various applications of the process up to a size of 340 mm x 340 mm are shown as examples.

Our experts at Optatec 2016

At the international trade fair in Frankfurt, Fraunhofer ILT will be at the joint Fraunhofer booth (Hall 3.0, D50) to present current research results. Around 570 exhibitors will also be at the trade fair to display innovations and new developments in the areas of optical technologies, components and systems.


Dipl.-Phys., Dipl.-Volksw. Dominik Esser
Group Solid State Lasers
Phone +49 241 8906-437

Dr.-Ing. Edgar Willenborg
Group Manager Polishing
Phone +49 241 8906-213

Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Steinbachstraße 15
52074 Aachen, Germany

Weitere Informationen:

Petra Nolis | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht Creating living spaces for people: The »Fraunhofer CityLaboratory« at BAU 2017
14.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht Reducing Weight through Laser-assisted Material Processing in Automobile Construction
13.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>