Articles in Category: PSM Applications


Alignment of Optical Systems


1. Introduction

As optical systems become more complex and packaging requirements more severe and multi-dimensional, proper alignment becomes more challenging. Yet with current improvements in the manufacture and measurement of optical surfaces to nm levels, alignment is one of the few remaining opto-mechanical aspects of optical system manufacture and assembly where improvement in optical performance can be made. There are four approaches to aligning optical systems. These will be described and the advocated method illustrated by examples.

The preferred alignment method overcomes most of the difficulties of traditional methods but requires a new way of thinking about alignment. The method also requires alignment considerations must be studied immediately after the optical design is complete so that the necessary opto-mechanical datums can be incorporated into the mechanical design of the optical system cell, chassis or lens bench.

Computer Generated Holograms as Fixtures for Testing Optical Elements


1. Introduction

It is common to think of computer generated holograms (CGH) as artifacts for testing aspheres but they can also be used as general calibration artifacts and fixtures for the alignment and test other more conventional optics. We show how simple Fresnel zone patterns can be created to simulate centers of curvature or axes in space with dimensional precision associated with microlithography. These centers of curvature and axes can then be located in space to similar sorts of precision with an autostigmatic microscope (ASM) or an interferometer.

Once the ASM is centered on the center of curvature, or axis, of the Fresnal zone pattern, a ball, or cylinder, respectively, of matching radius can be aligned to the ASM or interferometer to similar sorts of precision and physically attached to the CGH to serve as kinematic datums against or on which to mount other optical or mechanical components.

We then give an example of the fixture for the mounting of a rectangular lens element into a kinematically located frame so the two can be cemented together prior to inserting the bonded pair into an optical bench.

Method of Alignment using a Laser Tracker System

 1. Introduction: Laser trackers are an accurate and efficient tool for finding the locations of features in a threedimensional space but they rely on Spherically Mounted Retroreflectors (SMR) to return the laser beam to the tracker. If the feature cannot be contacted or it is not convenient to use an SMR another method must be used to follow the beam. We describe methods using a dual imaging and autostigmatic microscope for locating the features and two methods for tracking the microscope location depending on the type of tracker used. This converts a contact probe, large area CMM into a non-contact CMM by coupling a laser tracker with a dual purpose autostigmatic microscope. We begin with a brief description of the microscope followed by the alignment of the microscope to tracking and scanning laser metrology stations.

Non-Contact Probe for On-Machine Metrology


On-machine metrology is particularly important for diamond turning and grinding as it is difficult to remount and align a part if it does not meet off-line inspection criteria. There is also the issue of tool wear; a process that started well may fail part way through the cut, and if tool replacement is needed, it is vital to know that before removing the part. A means of rapid, noncontact, in situ profiling and roughness measurement could improve the productivity of diamond tool machining.

Recently we first showed that diamond turning machines are sufficiently isolated that steady fringes can be obtained by simply setting a Point Source Microscope [1,2] equipped with an interferometric Mirau objective on the cross slide of a machine. Further, we demonstrated that the machine can be precisely driven to get temporally shifted fringes so that common algorithms can be used to obtain area based surface roughness measurements. This led to the question of whether essentially the same hardware could be used to rapidly profile diamond turned parts. We show via simulation that the answer is yes and that the approach can be implemented rather simply.

We first describe the PSM and its configuration as a Microfinish Topographer (MFT) by using interferometric data reduction software. Then we describe how this hardware is changed into a profiler by changing the light source and camera. Finally, we show how this hardware that we call a Non-Contact Profiler [3] (NCP) is used on a diamond turning machine to profile turned or ground parts in situ.

Optical Alignment Using the Point Source Microscope



We give an example of a Point Source Microscope (PSM) and describe its uses as an aid in the alignment of optical systems including the referencing of optical to mechanical datums. The PSM is a small package (about 100x150x30 mm), including a point source of light, beam splitter, microscope objective and digital CCD camera to detect the reflected light spot. A software package in conjunction with a computer video display locates the return image in three degrees of freedom relative to an electronic spatial reference point. The PSM also includes a Köhler illumination source so it may be used as a portable microscope for ordinary imaging and the microscope can be zoomed under computer control. For added convenience, the laser diode point source can be made quite bright to facilitate initial alignment under typical laboratory lighting conditions. The PSM is particularly useful in aligning optical systems that do not have circular symmetry or are distributed in space such as off-axis systems. The PSM is also useful for referencing the centers of curvatures of optical surfaces to mechanical datums of the structure in which the optics are mounted. By removing the microscope objective the PSM can be used as an electronic autocollimator because of the infinite conjugate optical design.

Using the Point Source Microscope (PSM) to find Conjugates of Parabolic and Elliptical Off-axis Mirrors


Although the PSM is primarily an alignment instrument, it can also be used to determine the conjugates of parabolic and elliptical off-axis mirrors. By positioning the PSM at the sagittal and tangential foci of the mirrors, the conjugate distances of the mirror can be found using a laser range finder, for example. Knowing the sagittal and tangential radii of curvature (Rs and Rt), the vertex radius (Rv) is easily calculated. This information is used to verify that the mirror has been correctly manufactured and to aid in positioning the mirror in an optical system. Examples are shown of these steps.

Versatile Autostigmatic Microscope


An autostigmatic microscope is described and its uses explained. Then an adaptation of the original instrument is described that uses current technological advances in laser diodes and video displays to turn an old workhorse into a versatile optical test and alignment device. This paper illustrates applications that make use of the capabilities of the modern autostigmatic microscope outside the field of aligning optical systems such as using it as an electronic autocollimator, a check on the centration of the axes of molded optics and the measurement of the runout and wobble of precision spindles such as air bearings.

Case Studies & Testimonials

  • Sometimes good news goes unnoticed for the longest time. We just stumbled on this unattributed, but complimentary note about the PSM.

    Notice the PSM in the top center of Fig. 9.  Optical Perspectives Group would like to express "thank you, IDEX".

  • "We are enjoying our Point Source Microscope and finding it invaluable in alignment and diagnostic tasks."

    Dr. John Mitchell
    Senior Optical Metrologist
    Glyndwr Innovations Ltd., St. Asaph, Wales, UK


  • "Just wanted to share a recent success aligning an adaptive optics test bed with the PSM. We used to use a traditional alignment telescope in the past, but the PSM made the whole process really easy and fast. The main requirements were to quickly determine the quality of beam collimation and pupil conjugates since there are several beam expanders and compressors with multiple pupil and focal planes."

    Suresh Sivanandam
    Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics
    University of Toronto


  • "You are always responsive and give us lots of useful information!!"

    Dr. Shaojie Chen
    Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics
    University of Toronto


  • "As always we are very much loving the instrument, I personally love the camera upgrade from what I'm used to!"

    Weslin Pullen
    Hart Scientific Consulting International, LLC
    Tucson, Arizona


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