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Edmund Optics Order Tops $2M

Photonics.com
Nov 2008
BARRINGTON, N.J., Nov. 13, 2008 -- Optics, imaging and photonics technology provider Edmund Optics (EO) has been awarded $2.32 million by the US Army to improve manufacturing technology for infrared (IR) aspheric optics. The funds will be used to help both foot soldiers and weapons guidance systems effectively see in total darkness, extremely dense fog and smoke.

The funding, part of the Army's RDT&E, Weapons and Advanced Technology Program, recognizes that future night-vision technology requires a blend of both near- and far-infrared channels that are fused into a digitally stabilized image, at significantly reduced costs compared to what is currently available today, the company said. The funding will be used to help achieve superior contrast and clarity on the battlefield during extremely low light and environmentally challenged viewing situations.

A new breed of optical designs that will further improve night-vision capabilities are expected to result from the introduction of new IR materials designed and custom engineered for superior performance at specific wavelengths, according to EO technical experts. Under the new contract, EO will explore optical design matrices using newly developed IR materials as part of its precision aspheric glass molding manufacturing technology.

"Successfully molding precision glass aspheres will dramatically reduce costs and keep the manufacture of these critical defense articles in the United States," said Dr. David Knapp, principal optical engineer of Raytheon's MANTIS Program, a defense initiative that has made possible helmet-mounted night-vision systems. "Aspheric optics are highly desirable because they make possible lighter-weight, higher performance optical systems required by the next generation of night-vision goggles, tracking and surveillance, and fire control systems."

"With no viable domestic cost-effective techniques available for high-precision IR aspheres, support for this DoD (Department of Defense) effort is both apparent and strongly justified," said Dr. Robert Dillon, chief science advisor at Benét Laboratories, the Army's principal government research laboratory for large-caliber munitions systems.

For more information, visit: www.edmundoptics.com



GLOSSARY
glass
A noncrystalline, inorganic mixture of various metallic oxides fused by heating with glassifiers such as silica, or boric or phosphoric oxides. Common window or bottle glass is a mixture of soda, lime and sand, melted and cast, rolled or blown to shape. Most glasses are transparent in the visible spectrum and up to about 2.5 µm in the infrared, but some are opaque such as natural obsidian; these are, nevertheless, useful as mirror blanks. Traces of some elements such as cobalt, copper and...
image
In optics, an image is the reconstruction of light rays from a source or object when light from that source or object is passed through a system of optics and onto an image forming plane. Light rays passing through an optical system tend to either converge (real image) or diverge (virtual image) to a plane (also called the image plane) in which a visual reproduction of the object is formed. This reconstructed pictorial representation of the object is called an image.
optical
Pertaining to optics and the phenomena of light.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
tracking
1. The process of following an object's movement; accomplished by focusing a radar beam on the reticle of an optical system on the object and plotting its bearing and distance at specific intervals. 2. In display technology, use of a light pen to move an object across a display screen.
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