Phase Retrieval System for Assessing Diamond Turning and Optical Surface Defects

An optical design is presented for a measurement system used to assess the impact of surface errors originating from diamond turning artifacts. Diamond turning artifacts are common by-products of optical surface shaping using the diamond turning process (a diamond-tipped cutting tool used in a lathe configuration).

Assessing and evaluating the errors imparted by diamond turning (including other surface errors attributed to optical manufacturing techniques) can be problematic and generally requires the use of an optical interferometer. Commercial interferometers can be expensive when compared to the simple optical setup developed here, which is used in combination with an image-based sensing technique (phase retrieval). Phase retrieval is a general term used in optics to describe the estimation of optical imperfections or “aberrations.”

This turnkey system uses only image-based data and has minimal hardware requirements. The system is straightforward to set up, easy to align, and can provide nanometer accuracy on the measurement of optical surface defects.

This work was done by Bruce Dean, Alex Maldonado, and Matthew Bolcar of the Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-15976-1

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