Smart Optics Production

Intelligent Glass Molding

In contrast to conventional processing by grinding and polishing, precision glass molding as a replicative manufacturing process is particularly suitable for the production of optical components with complex geometries. So far, the main advantage has been the scalability of production by using multiple molds or by molding wafers.

By networking the individual process steps, the Fraunhofer IPT research team is taking the precision glass molding of optical components to a new level of efficiency and performance.

In order to reduce the effort in product development, the engineers in Aachen have developed a software tool with a user-friendly interface that allows the prediction of geometric deviations and optical changes of molded glass components with an accuracy of up to 1 μm.

For the production of the molds, high-precision optical and mechanical components made of brittle hard materials must be ground with the highest precision. At the Fraunhofer IPT, we build on many years of process experience combined with innovative research ideas for rotationally symmetric and free-form geometries, for proven and for novel materials.

The coating of molds for precision glass molding extends the service life and thus increases the economic efficiency of the molding processes. The Fraunhofer IPT has a test rig that is unique in the world and which can be used to develop and validate new coatings.

Microstructured glass optics allow beam shaping in laser systems, correction of color defects or integration of an anti-reflection function to reduce the use of coatings. Manufacturing by precision glass molding optimizes production processes because the optics are manufactured in a single forming step.