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Using Ion Beam Machining to Increase Productivity When Manufacturing High-End Optics

Jan 10, 2023
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Ion beam figuring has a long history in the manufacture of classical, high-end optical components. Demanding telescopic or lithographic optics have traditionally been enabled through deterministic and highly reproducible focused ion beam machining on various optical materials. The whole process to produce such delicate components as spheres, aspheres, plano optics, and freeforms still relies heavily on the optics craftsman’s experience and patience in mastering the interchange between interferometric testing and the ultraprecise, locally determined material removal. With focused ion beam machining, the lowest figure errors in the P-V of less than lambda/200 and microroughness values of less than RMS = 0.1 nm are achievable by accurately planning iterative processing.

In contrast to historical approaches to production, today's industry and research applications in precision optics and semiconductors demand the same or higher quality — but often in higher quantities and faster production. New process approaches need to be found and descriptions made for higher material removal without compromises in quality. Schindler discusses how to implement productivity into ion beam machining, with the aim of directly shaping aspheres or freeforms and manufacturing higher quantities.

***This presentation premiered during the 2023 Photonics Spectra Conference. For more information on Photonics Media conferences, visit

About the presenter

Christian SchindlerChristian Schindler, Ph.D., takes care of international sales and business development activities on ion beam machining technology at Bühler Group within the optics and semiconductor markets. He holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering, with a focus on beam-based manufacturing, and he is experienced in applied process development in optics and business-building initiatives. Before joining Bühler, Schindler focused on scouting and developing technologies at ZEISS, with the aim of utilizing them for strategic OEM customers in the field of high-end optical systems.
opticsion beam machiningaspheres
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