Photonics Spectra, September 2018: Large, high-performance mirrors are a critical aspect of numerous optical systems and must meet strict requirements.
By NISSIM ASIDA, ELIYAHU BENDER, AND DAVID ALEXANDER, OPHIR OPTICS SOLUTIONS LTD.
When it comes to long-range, multispectral optical systems, large mirrors play an integral role; there are tens of thousands of optical units containing large mirrors around the globe. With minimum diameters starting at 200 mm, the largest mirrors range from 8.2 m in diameter (single mirrors) to over 10 m (segmented). They take many shapes — spherical, aspheric, parabolic, or freeform — and are used for a wide spectrum of light, including visible, UV, and IR. Over the last 10 years, optical systems with reflective elements have been used by system integrators in the defense and aerospace industries, in surveillance and monitoring, and in certain commercial applications. For example, large mirrors may be integrated into the optical systems of large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in long-distance aerial monitoring of agricultural field temperature using IR. The most recognized applications of large mirrors have been in the aerospace industry, for satellites and long-range telescopes.
Large mirrors are a critical aspect of numerous optical systems, and are used in a wide variety of important applications. For the production of high performance large mirrors, optical manufacturers are tasked with the challenge of meeting a strict set of requirements
When it comes to long range multi-spectral optical systems, large mirrors play an integral role. Such optical systems are used for defense applications, surveillance and monitoring, as well as for certain commercial applications. For example, large mirrors may be integrated in the optical systems of aircraft like large UAVs. An interesting commercial application is the long distance aerial monitoring of agricultural field temperature using infrared. The most commonly recognized applications of large mirrors are in the aerospace industry – for satellites and telescopes.
Recent UAV system developments have drawn attention to the optical needs of the UAV industry. As detectors become larger in size and smaller in pixel size, UAV optics with higher MTF values and lower F# are the key to maximizing imaging performance.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry is growing rapidly, with Teal Group analysts estimating that worldwide UAV production will total $135 billion in the next ten years1. When equipped with high performance EO/IR camera payloads, UAVs, also known as drones, lend themselves to a wide range of imaging applications.