Systems with infrared optics are becoming more and more common in industrial sensor technology, construction thermography, motion detectors and driver assistance systems. In order to be able to open up further new fields of application and markets, the manufacturers of such systems have to face a high price pressure.
The infrared optics available today are still far too expensive for many applications. One approach to reduce costs is the replicative production of infrared lenses made of chalcogenide glass by precision molding.
The advantage of replication over direct manufacturing of infrared optics is the scalability of the manufacturing process: Depending on the geometry of the optics, multiple tools can be used and even wafers with a larger number of optics can be produced. This approach can significantly improve the efficiency of production. The process itself has already been tested for optical glasses in the visible spectral range and is used industrially.
The goal of the research project "Scalable molding of lenses for IR applications - SKALIR" is to make the technology of precision molding scalable for infrared optics as well. Thus the manufacturing costs for a single lens are to be reduced by the factor 5 to 10.
Research and development tasks for reaching this goal are:
Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT (consortium leader)
Tim Grunwald M.Sc.
Steinbach Street 17
Phone +49 241 8904-317
Im Erdbeerfeld 20
Phone +49 241 531077-0
Dr.-Ing. Olaf Rübenach
Phone +49 241 963 1340
Participants for industrial consultant circle "IR-Optics" wanted!
Manufacturers of products that rely on infrared technologies and thus contain infrared optics can now participate in the industrial advisory board "IR optics": This gives companies the opportunity to bring their market-relevant questions about the replication of infrared optics into the research and development work. Application-oriented geometries, quantities, cost concepts and other relevant parameters are then directly incorporated into the investigations and help to transfer the research results into industrial practice by the shortest possible route.
Contribution of the companies in the industrial consulting group "IR-Optics":
The companies of the industrial consulting group profit in a special way from the successful process and product developments in the project "SKALIR": Shortly after the end of the project they already have comprehensive knowledge from the research project, which facilitates their market entry into new fields of application of infrared optics.