Optical manufacturing unabridged

July 21, 2021
Precision freeform optics manufacturing, 3.5D laser printing of glass components, and environmental sensing are just a few of the topics that can be found in the July 2021 issue of Laser Focus World.
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In our cover story this month, the authors provide an unabridged discussion of how to manufacture a freeform optic from optical blank to finished surface (see article) using CNC optical grinding, subaperture polishing, noncontact metrology, and CAM software to optimize the grinding and polishing process. Another article focused on optical manufacturing discusses how combining new techniques, laser welding, and fast 2D processing enable more economical production of the complex and functional vertical structures required for multilevel, chip-based designs, such as microfluidics, that typically require cycle times too long for high-volume production (see article).

UV-enabled liquid chromatography (LC), widely used in water analysis and environmental monitoring, has traditionally required large complex instrumentation. But, with the cost of UV LEDs and CMOS detectors dropping while performance and reliability have been on the rise, it’s now possible to produce laboratory-grade, portable UV-LC for environmental testing using off-the-shelf LEDs, detectors, pumps, and microcontrollers combined with 3D-printed capillaries (see article). Diode lasers emitting at near-UV wavelengths have been available for years, and developments have pushed the wavelength barrier to shorter and shorter wavelengths. In this issue, we describe the advent of a commercially available, module-based, deep-UV laser diode that emits at 261 nm and permits easy integration into fixed, portable, and handheld systems for use in applications such as UV Raman spectroscopy and fluorescence imaging (see article).

We also discuss optical techniques that offer unmatched speed, minimal invasiveness, and bidirectional signaling without interference for brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), which promise greater insight into neurological processes and offer paths to rehabilitation and recovery for prosthetic control (see article). Finally, we take a look at why quantum-cascade lasers (QCLs) may be the future of IR microscopy by looking at the current trends in QCL-based IR imaging microscopes, and focusing on why removing interferometers from the setup and replacing the IR light source with a tunable QCL improves overall system performance (see article). As always, I hope you enjoy this issue.

About the Author

John Lewis | Editor in Chief (2018-2021)

John Lewis served as Editor in Chief of Laser Focus World from August 2018 through October 2021, after having served as the Editor in Chief of Vision Systems Design from 2016 to 2018. He has technical, industry, and journalistic qualifications, with more than 13 years of progressive content development experience working at Cognex Corporation. Prior to Cognex where his articles on machine vision were published in dozens of trade journals, he was a technical editor for Design News, covering automation, machine vision, and other engineering topics, for over six years.

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