Manufacturing High-Performance Mirrors

Manufacturing High-Performance Mirrors

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.

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