Courtesy of Shanghai Optics Inc
Case Study: High-Precision Optical Domes for Extreme Conditions

Case Study: High-Precision Optical Domes for Extreme Conditions

Courtesy of Shanghai Optics Inc
Case Study: High-Precision Optical Domes for Extreme Conditions

Optical domes, also known as dome windows, are specialized components used in a variety of optical detection and imaging systems. These domes, which feature two curved surfaces, allow light to pass through with minimal optical distortion. Typically crafted from robust materials such as sapphire, fused silica, and tempered BK7 glass, optical domes are designed to protect sensitive optical equipment, including cameras, lenses, and sensors.

Due to their shape, optical domes provide a wider field of view compared to flat ports. This makes them ideal for applications in underwater cameras, aircraft navigation systems, surveillance systems, and scientific instruments. In these contexts, optical domes not only protect the equipment but also ensure that it performs optimally. 

Project Overview

Shanghai Optics undertook a project to optimize and manufacture a set of three optical domes for a research and development application. The design involved two domes with identical geometries, glued and clamped together using a titanium ring. An additional larger dome covered the smaller ones, also clamped to the titanium ring.

The laboratory environment required the domes to function under high pressure (over 3 bar) and a 60°C temperature difference. Consequently, thermal expansion of the glass was a critical consideration in material selection. Additionally, mechanical shear forces in the small clamping areas needed careful management.

To read the entire case study, visit Shanghai Optics' website.

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