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Reverse Optical Engineering Case Studies from Avantier

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At Avantier, we are our proud of our track history in assisting customers to solve problems using reverse optical engineering. Here are three case studies.

Case Study 1: Reverse Engineering an OFS 20x APO Objective Lens for Bioresearch

Genetic engineering requires using precision optics to view and edit the genomes of plants or animals. One world renowned bio research lab has pioneered a new method to speed plant domestication by means of genome editing. While ordinary plant domestication typically requires decades of hard work to produce bigger and better fruit, their methods speed up the process through careful editing of the plants’ genome. 

To accomplish this editing, the bio research lab used a high end OFS 20x Mitutoyo APO SL infinity corrected objective lens. The objective lens performed as desired, but there was just one problem. The high energy continuous wave (CW) laser waves involved in the project would damage the sensitive optical lens, causing the objective lens to fail. This became a recurrent problem, and the lab found itself constantly replacing the very expensive objective. It wasn’t long before the cost became untenable.

We were approached with the details of this problem and asked if we could design a microscope objective lens with the same long working distance and high numerical aperture performance of the OFS 20x Mitutoyo but with better resistance to laser damage. 

The problem was a complex one, but after years of intensive study and focused effort we succeeded in reverse engineering the objective lens and improving the design with a protective coating.  The new objective lens was produced and integrated into the bio research lab’s system. More than three years later, it continues to be used in close proximity to laser beams without any hint of failure or compromised imaging.

Case Study 2: Reverse Engineering an OTS 10x Objective Lens for Biomedical Research

Fluoresce microscopy is used by a biomedical research company to study embryo cells in a hot, humid incubator.  This company used an OTS Olympic microscope objective lens to view the incubator environment up close and determine the presence, health, and signals of labeled cells, but the objective was failing over time.

Constant exposure to temperatures above 37 C and humidity of 70% was causing fungal spores to grow in the research environment and on the microscope objective. These fungal spores, after settling on the cover glass, developed into living organisms that digested the oils and lens coatings. Hydrofluoric acid, produced by the fungi as a waste product, slowly destroyed the lens coating and etched the glass. 

The Olympus OTS 10x lens cost several thousand dollars, and this research company soon realized that regular replacement due to fungal growth would cost them far more than they were willing to pay. They approached us to ask if we would reverse engineer an objective that performed in a manner equivalent to the objective they were using, but with a resistance to fungal growth that the original objective did not have. 

Our optical and coating engineers worked hard on this problem, and succeeded in producing an equivalent microscope objective with a special protective coating. This microscope lens can be used in humid, warm environments for a long period of time without the damage the Olympus objective sustained. 

Case Study 3: Reverse Engineering a High Precision Projection Lens

A producer of consumer electronics was designing a home planetarium projector, and found themselves in need of a high precision projection lens that could project an enhanced image. Nothing on the market seemed to suit, and they approached us to ask if we would reverse engineer a high quality lens that exactly fit their needs but is now obsolete. 

We were able to study the lens and create our own design for a projector lens with outstanding performance. Not only did this lens exceed our customer’s expectations, it was also affordable to produce and suitable for high volume production.

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