Additive manufacturing: a new approach to realize complex and unconventional optical components

von Andreas, Heinrich

A. Heinrich, M. Rank, S. Suresh Nair, Y. Bauckhage, P. Maillard, Proc. SPIE  10101, Organic Photonic Materials and Devices XIX, 1010118;   doi: 10.1117/12.2250367; 2017

In recent years, additive manufacturing methods became more and more prominent. Thereby, these techniques are mainly used in order to realize mechanical components. But the additive manufacturing technology offers a high potential in the field of optics as well. Owing to new design possibilities, completely new solutions are possible. We report on the realization of complex freeform optics using standard 3D printers. We briefly point out the characteristics of 3D printing and its influence on the optical properties. Additionally we address the needed rework of 3D printed optical components. Therefore we apply two different methods - a robot-based fluid jet polishing and a coating method. The advantage of a 3D printed optic lies in its shape complexity. Thus different complex shaped optical elements are discussed. They are used for either metrology tasks or illumination tasks.