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Polymer Optics FAQs


We have collected some frequently asked questions about plastic optics below, that we’ve heard from our customers. Challenges of managing an injection molding optics program are quite significant, therefore a successful program requires a detailed knowledge of optical design, mold construction techniques, state-of-the-art mold processing capability, and optical metrology expertise.

Polymer Optics FAQs

During the optical design process the base values and tolerances for both mechanical and optical parameters are established. They may vary greatly depending upon the system performance requirements, the assembly method selected, the materials of manufacture and the design experience of the optical engineer performing the design. Read more here.

Pricing will be variable, and will depend primarily on the quantity and complexity of the part(s).

Pricing will be variable, and will depend primarily on the quantity and complexity of the part(s) to be molded.

SPDT parts typically require 6-10 weeks depending on materials and quantity. In most cases, injection molded optics less than 1 inch in diameter can be turned around in as little as 8 weeks following the design for manufacturability process. Larger and customized optics may take longer, for instance, up to 16 weeks.

The range of optical grade plastics continues to grow, however we have put together an abbreviated list of some of the most important families of optical polymers and co-polymers at this link.

All manufacturing is done in our Rochester, NY facility.

Yes, we can apply coatings using physical vapor deposition techniques. In addition, we can apply dielectric coatings including broadband AR, V-coatings, special band pass coatings, and a wide array of reflective coatings to polymer optics. For more information, click here.

Yes, we provide complete opto-mechanical assembly and packaging services. Our manufacturing engineers specialize in bringing custom solutions and unique tooling concepts to solve your manufacturing challenges. Assembly work is generally done in our class 10,000 clean room.

Yes, we can do bonding, depending on the accuracy requirements and type of bonding required.

The latest advances in molding technology and polymer materials make plastic optics an attractive alternative to glass components for a wide range of applications. Plastic optics offer significant cost benefits in high volume production mostly due to injection molding technology. There are some process limitations related to the shape of an optic that can be produced by molding, however these limitations almost always can be mitigated if the design of the optic is done with the manufacturing process in mind. Read more here.

Plastic optics can be used in many types of applications and consequently offer a distinct competitive advantage over other materials.

  • Thermoplastic molding resins cost less than glass.
  • As a result of using injection molding, finished optics can be made quickly, often in molds with more than one cavity.
  • Good system correction is often accomplished using one or more aspheric surfaces. Injection molding is ideally suited to make these type of surfaces because the molding process does not care if the optic is spherical or aspheric.
  • Adding flanges and mounting datums to the molded optic will simplify the assembly process and reduce the total bill of materials. A qualified optical molder will be able to assist with the required design for manufacturability to accomplish this.

Read more here.

Polymer Optics Capabilities

Product enquiry

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