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By Braunecker B., Hentschel R., Tiziani H.

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6 illustrates full aperture polishing of an elliptical lightweight mirror on a plano polishing machine. The mirror is polished face down on a large rotary table with polishing pitch. The relative velocity (ds/dt) depends on the rpm of the rotary table and the load force is the net weight of the mirror. Due to the change in the local curvature, full aperture polishing with stiff tools is not possible for aspheres. Thus, polishing aspheres, before the computer era, was an art performed by highly skilled craftsmen (Fig.

3 Principle of a copy machine for aspheres. The introduction of the computer around 1976 revolutionized optical fabrication. The technical possibility of continuous path control by computer initiated modern generating and polishing methods. With regard to generating, two approaches were chosen by the scientists and engineers at that time. The first approach was to keep most of the fundamental ideas from the time before the computer era. One example of such a machine is shown in Fig. 5. The aspherical element is located below on a rotary table.

In specific cases one can use diamond turning, but mainly for fast prototyping. The weak points of polymers are the strong temperature dependence of their optical properties, insufficient long-term stability, sensitivity to radiation impact and humidity, outgassing, and transmission loss in the blue and UV part of the spectrum. Although the refractive index of glass can be fine-tuned and controlled by an annealing process, this is not possible for polymers. , Zeonex® ), CR39, and the resin MR-8.

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