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pdf Design and Fabrication Congress 2017 (IODC,

Freeform,OFT) © OSA 2017

Referencing and form measurement of freeform optics

Andreas Beutler
Mahr GmbH, Carl-Mahr-Straße 1, 37073 Göttingen, Germany

Abstract: Different metrology systems capable of measuring freeform lenses and mirrors
including reference structures are discussed. The measuring process involving an optical and a
tactile probe in combination with a cylindrical coordinate measuring instrument is presented.
OCIS codes: (120.3930) Metrological instrumentation; (120.3940) Metrology; (120.6650) Surface measurements, figure,
220.3630 Lenses, 220.4840 Testing

1. Introduction
Over the last ten years a lot of effort was put into developing measuring instruments for the production of aspheric
lenses. Today there is still room for improvements and new instruments appear on the market but in general
solutions are available for the production process [1]. With the increasing number of applications of freeform lenses
new metrology solutions are required for the production process. Unlike spheres and aspheres, in this presentation
freeforms are considered as any forms which are not rotationally symmetric, i.e. off-axis aspheres, cylinders and
acylinders, toroids or any other freeform shape. A lot of metrology systems developed for the measurement of
aspheres cannot measure samples which are not rotationally symmetric. In the measuring process of aspheric lenses
the lens is usually rather well adjusted to its aspheric axis on the measuring system. And in the following analysis a
fit process, minimizing the residual error, reveals the exact position of the axis. For freeforms such an axis or zenit
position is often not available or outside the sample. Thus the reference for mounting the part on the production or
measuring machine, fitting process and the position of the error topography for form correction maybe not available.
In order to overcome this problem additional structures of the sample are applied[2]. These can be just edges of the
part, specific structures e.g. on the backside or spherical shapes. Also for the final assembly of the lens or mirror
these references are applied or are actually specifically designed for that purpose. In this presentation different
metrology systems capable of measuring freeforms and reference structures are discussed. Different examples of
measurement with a cylindrical coordinate measuring instrument applying an optical and a tactile probe are shown.

2. Metrology systems
A standard metrology system for measuring spherical lenss is a Fizeau or Twynman-Green type laser interferometer.
In combination with a computer generated hologram (CGH) also aspheres are tested. A CGH can also be designed
for freeforms and can also detect reference fiducials on the front side of the sample[3]. This can be a good solution
for long term high volume series production. However, for low quantities and a quick start of the production process
more flexible solutions are required. A rather flexible approach for a laser interferometer setup is the Tilted wave
interferometer (TWI)[4]. In this interferometer setup a set of test beams with different tilts are created. Each beam
has a certain area on the surface where the beam is rather normal to the surface. With a high dynamic range of up to
10° gradient deviation from the best-fit sphere [5] this technology is very flexible and performs rather fast
measurements. It covers a wide range of aspheric lenses and in principle also freeform surfaces.
Very flexible are high precision coordinate measuring instruments (CMM). They can measure aspheres and
freeforms usually including reference structures. However, the point wise measuring process with the usually
available tactile probe system is slow creating a rather low density of point. And in the finishing process of optical
components non-contact methods are preferred. For the measurement of aspheric samples also cylindrical coordinate
measuring instruments are available with optical probes. This setup can keep the probe normal to the surface
allowing for using optical probes with low numerical aperture (NA). The surface can be measured with a spiral or
many circles by rotating the sample with high speeds leading to lower measuring times compared to the CMMs. For
probes with higher NA also freeforms can be measured to a certain extent, since the probe does not have to stay
normal to the surface. An example of this type of system is the MarForm MFU200 [6]. A unique feature is that can
make use of an optical and a tactile probe. In order to perform measurements for example of the optical surface of
the sample in a non-contact mode and to determine the position of the edges with the tactile probe a probe arm
containing both types of probes can be rotated (Fig. 1).
JTh1C.4.pdf Design and Fabrication Congress 2017 (IODC,
Freeform,OFT) © OSA 2017

Fig. 1. Probe system of the MFU200 with optical and tactile probe system.

3. Measuring Process and Results

As discussed above for production measurement and assembly defined reference structures are important features of
freeform lenses or mirrors (Fig. 2a). In the measuring process the position of the structure and the freeform surface
has to be determined. Using the MFU200 the freeform surface and fiducials on the same side of the sample can be
measured with the optical probe (Fig.2b). Structures on the edges and the backside can be measured with the tactile

Fig. 2. a) Examples of reference structures on a sample. b) Principle approaches to detect the reference structures.

Another approach is described in the following. The discussed sample is a toroid with a structure on the backside
necessary for the assembly process (Fig. 3 left). In this case it is difficult to measure the structure directly. However,
the measurements can be performed indirectly by applying a special sample holder. The ruby balls of this holder can
be adjusted to the position of the mounting structure on the backside of the part. The first step in the measuring
process is to measure the position of the ruby balls by performing short scans across the ruby balls with the optical
probe tip. In the next step the sample is mounted. With the knowledge of the position of the ruby balls and thus the
position of the backside structure the position of the freeform on the front side is known. Thus a measuring process
for the freeform surface can automatically be created and the measurement be performed. The result is shown in Fig.
4. Mounting structure and measured freeform can be described in one coordinate system which may be useful for
simulating the assembled optical system.
JTh1C.4.pdf Design and Fabrication Congress 2017 (IODC,
Freeform,OFT) © OSA 2017

Fig. 3. Toroid with backside structure (left) mounted on the sample holder of the measuring system measuring system (right).

Fig. 4. Measuring result of the toroid.

4. Acknowledgments
I would like to thank my colleague Erhard Grüner for performing the measurements and THALES ANGÉNIEUX
SAS for providing the toroid.

5. References
[1] A. Beutler, „Metrology for the production process of aspheric lenses“, Adv. Opt. Technol., Bd. 5, Nr. 3, S. 211–228, 2016.
[2] K. Medicus, J. D. Nelson, und M. Brunelle, „The need for fiducials on freeform optical surfaces“, in Proc. SPIE 9582, 2015, Bd. 9582, S.
[3] S. Scheiding, M. Beier, U.-D. Zeitner, S. Risse, und A. Gebhardt, „Freeform mirror fabrication and metrology using a high performance
test CGH and advanced alignment features“, in Proc. SPIE 8613, 2013, Bd. 8613, S. 86130J–86130J–15.
[4] E. Garbusi, C. Pruss, und W. Osten, „Interferometer for precise and flexible asphere testing“, Opt. Lett., Bd. 33, Nr. 24, S. 2973, Dez. 2008.
[5] G. Baer, J. Schindler, C. Pruss, J. Siepmann, und W. Osten, „Calibration of a non-null test interferometer for the measurement of aspheres
and free-form surfaces“, Opt. Express, Bd. 22, Nr. 25, S. 31200, Dez. 2014.
[6] A. Beutler, „Flexible, non-contact and high-precision measurements of optical components“, Surf. Topogr. Metrol. Prop., Bd. 4, Nr. 2, S.
024011, 2016.