New Low Cost Micro-Optics

1 May, 2013

PowerPhotonic Releases LightForge™, the World’s First Low Cost Freeform Micro-Optics Rapid Fabrication Service.

World leader in precision micro-optical fabrication offers 2 week turnaround for custom micro-optics solutions

PowerPhotonic today announced that it has launched the world’s first low cost freeform micro-optics rapid fabrication service.  The LightForge™ micro-optics fabrication service allows optical designers to create their own completely bespoke optical surface and have the fabricated part shipped in as a little as 2 weeks, and for less than $3,000.

For many years, optical designers have suffered from the inability to easily and cost-effectively realise their own custom optic designs.  This leads to optical systems that have multiple performance compromises, including brightness and power efficiency degradations.  With LightForge™, designers can simply upload their design to the PowerPhotonic web portal from industry standard optical design packages such as Zemax.  After upload, the optic design is compared with the LightForge™ design guidelines to ensure compliance, and a physical layout generated for verification by the designer.  This process is completely automatic.  Once the designer is happy with their design, there is a simple sign-off and ordering procedure before the part goes into manufacturing.

Roy McBride, MD of PowerPhotonic said, “the LightForge™ rapid fabrication service will completely revolutionise the purchase of custom micro-optics.  Up until now, the specification, ordering and supply of new micro-optic components has been an expensive and time-consuming process, involving design and drawing review, long fabrication lead-times and substantial NRE.  By standardizing component specification, shortening lead time for custom parts and removing the need for NRE, LightForge™ has created a new paradigm in micro-optics manufacturing.  Optical designers will be able to create innovative new freeform surfaces, test new ideas and verify designs for production without incurring expensive upfront engineering charges and lengthy prototyping lead times.“

The new LightForge™ offering from PowerPhotonic can be used to create a very wide range of refractive optical elements, from generic functions such as beam transformers and microlens arrays, to unique components such as diode laser smile correctors and wavefront compensator phaseplates, to completely custom surface shapes.  The scope of what can be done is only limited by the designer’s imagination.  The LightForge™ product comes with a variety of options including a broadband anti-reflection coating and a mounting option that enables quick and easy deployment using industry-standard 2-inch lens mounts.  The LightForge™ fabrication service is available now and can be used for rapid prototyping as a precursor to volume production, or for one-off designs.