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Plastic Makes the Grade

Photonics Spectra
Jul 1997
Jon Nisper

Plastic optics have taken a huge leap taken since the 1960s, when, a plastic magnifier epitomized the technology's high end. Today, the plastic diffractive optics landscape can only be described as dynamic.
Plastic diffractive optics are finding homes in such diverse applications as automotive displays and lighting; gratings that convert a single laser beam into multiple beams; and plastic microstructures for disposable lab test devices that employ spectrophotoluminescence to assess body fluids.
Injection molding is the key to these applications. Via injection molding, plastic optics manufacturers can accurately reproduce any number of complex optical structures in high volumes and at low cost. The process involves producing an accurate master and mold, then paying careful attention to achieving process control within the injection molding line to produce pieces that exhibit very little part-to-part variation…


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