Quantitative evaluation of performance of three-dimensional printed lenses
Gawedzinski, John; Pawlowski, Michal E.; Tkaczyk, Tomasz S.
We present an analysis of the shape, surface quality, and imaging capabilities of custom three-dimensional (3-D) printed lenses. 3-D printing technology enables lens prototypes to be fabricated without restrictions on surface geometry. Thus, spherical, aspherical, and rotationally nonsymmetric lenses can be manufactured in an integrated production process. This technique serves as a noteworthy alternative to multistage, labor-intensive, abrasive processes, such as grinding, polishing, and diamond turning. Here, we evaluate the quality of lenses fabricated by Luxexcel using patented Printoptical© technology that is based on an inkjet printing technique by comparing them to lenses made with traditional glass processing technologies (grinding, polishing, etc.). The surface geometry and roughness of the lenses were evaluated using white-light and Fizeau interferometers. We have compared peak-to-valley wavefront deviation, root mean square (RMS) wavefront error, radii of curvature, and the arithmetic roughness average (Ra) profile of plastic and glass lenses. In addition, the imaging performance of selected pairs of lenses was tested using 1951 USAF resolution target. The results indicate performance of 3-D printed optics that could be manufactured with surface roughness comparable to that of injection molded lenses
three-dimensional printing of optical components; lens fabrications; lens characterization