Investigation of Techniques for Fabricating Plastic Optical Components.
ARIZONA UNIV TUCSON OPTICAL SCIENCES CENTER
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This thesis deals primarily with the feasibility of producing plastic components of moderate precision larger than 4 inches in diameter. The structure and the physical and optical properties of plastics are discussed with emphasis on their advantages and limitations for optical use. A series of experiments on grinding and polishing of plastics was conducted. Data are presented on grinding rates. Several polishing processing were evaluated and a polishing technique for plastics was developed. Polishing rate data and surface roughness data are presented for several polishing processes. With proper techniques, accuracies of about one fringe per inch are obtainable. A series of experiments was conducted on a process called compression forming in which heat and pressure are applied to machined preforms in an attempt to obtain precision optical surfaces. The process is described in detail, and experimental results are discussed. Based on experimental results, improved processing conditions are suggested. Further experiments would be required to determine the ultimate process capability. Author, modified-PL