Additive manufacturing of reflective and transmissive optics - potential and new solutions for optical systems

von Andreas, Heinrich

A. Heinrich, R. Börret, M. Merkel, H. Riegel

Proc. 10523, Laser 3D Manufacturing V; doi: 10.1117/12.2293130

Additive manufacturing enables the realization of complex shaped parts. This also provides a high potential for optical components. Thus elements with virtually any geometry can be realized, which is often difficult with conventional fabrication methods. Depending on the material and thus the manufacturing method used, either transparent optics or reflective optics can be developed with the aid of additive manufacturing. Ultimately, the application or the specification decides on the approach. For example, transmissive 3D printed parts exhibit the disadvantage of a significant reduced transmission. Conversely, reflective 3d printed optics often requires a greater amount of rework in order to achieve a sufficient optical quality of the surface. Here, we discuss 3D printed metal optics (manufactured using a selective laser melting machine) and 3D printed polymer optics (realized either by stereolithography or by multijet modling). In addition to the basic properties, the post-processing of the 3D printed optics is regarded. This includes, for example, cleaning and polishing of the surface using lasers, a robot based fluidjet process for metallic and polymer optics. In the case of the polymer optics a dip-coating process was developed in order to improve the surface quality, which is presented as well. Our aim is to integrate the additive manufactured optics into optical systems. Therefore we present different examples in order to point out new possibilities and new solutions enabled by 3D printing of the parts. In this context, the development of 3D printed reflective and transmissive adaptive optics will be discussed as well.