Optical Design, Engineering, Prototyping, and Assembly

Since 1972, JML Optical has been a one-stop shop for advanced custom optical solutions, currently ranking in the top 10% of nationwide optical products manufacturers. As an industry-leading optical manufacturing company, we offer optical and optomechanical design engineering, prototyping, glass and metal fabrication, assembly, thin-film coating, metrology, and environmental testing services. JML Optical can meet a broad range of optics manufacturing challenges for the following markets:

Read on to learn more about how JML Optical’s array of capabilities can help support your optical applications.

Optics Design Engineering

Because optical assemblies consist of a variety of components and have diverse applications in a broad range of industries, it’s crucial to work with an optical component manufacturer that fully understands how to select and assemble all required items correctly, and what considerations go into optical design. This will help ensure that the end product fits the application and performs as intended.

As a custom optics manufacturer, JML Optical has the ability to take an optical or optomechanical project from the initial design stages to delivery, crafting each component with careful consideration of factors such as weight, size, manufacturability, and more. Our design engineering team’s process encompasses the following optical manufacturers’ steps to achieve the ideal customized design solution:

  • Determining a product’s intended look, function, dimensions, applications, etc.
  • Generating an initial design
  • Producing prototypes for testing
  • Manufacturing the product
  • Final testing for quality control
  • Shipping and delivery

We follow these steps to ensure that your product or assembly fully adheres to your performance requirements while offering the highest production yield possible. Review our Manufacturing Acylindrical Lenses case study as an example of how our process assisted a client in the life sciences and semiconductor markets.

Asphere Fabrication

Producing an aspherical lens can be complicated due to its non-spherical shape. The lens is rotationally symmetric and has a curvature radius that varies at different points between the lens’ edge and its center. When manufactured properly, these lenses are superior to spherical lenses in their ability to boost image quality and correct such imaging issues as spherical aberration, distortion, and marginal astigmatism.

These lenses offer enhanced precision in focused light, increased aperture size, and greater efficiency as an alternative to using several lenses in place of one. Common aspherical lens applications include:

  • Eyeglasses
  • Cameras and camera systems
  • Optical disk pickup lenses
  • Optical communication network systems
  • Laser beam profiler collimation lenses and other laser devices and systems
  • Metrology equipment
  • Microscopy tasks
  • Inspection tools for semiconductors

Their capacity for precision makes them well-suited to critical applications in the medical and aerospace industries. 

The JML Optical team has decades of experience in manufacturing quality aspherical lenses, producing more than 200,000 items in sizes ranging from 10mm to 200mm and materials like optical glass, fused silica, and Zerodur™. Our optical manufacturing facility is equipped with cutting-edge CNC equipment for handling the complete fabrication process, including generating, grinding, and polishing.

Cylindrical Lenses Manufacturing

Cylindrical lenses effectively expand or condense light in a single dimension. They have a different radius on the x-axis than on the y-axis, giving them either a semi- or fully cylindrical shape with image magnification along one of the two axes only. Due to their unique optical properties, cylindrical lenses are optimal for many applications. They can generate a laser line for scanning and optical metrology inspection systems, shape beams of light in imaging tasks, correct for astigmatism within imaging systems, and produce laser diode symmetrical output beams.

To meet the requirements of various applications in life sciences, healthcare, industrial tools, semiconductor inspection systems, and even entertainment, cylindrical lenses come in several variations:

  • Singlets, doublets, and triplets
  • Symmetric- and plano-convex/concave
  • Sphero-cylindrical
  • Acylindrical

Using state-of-the-art CNC machining, traditional x-y axis fabrication methods, and metrology devices, JML Optical provides precision manufacturing for custom lenses ranging 10mm to 635mm in all types of optical glass, quartz, and fused silica. 

Rapid Prototyping Quickturn Optics

Offering some of the shortest lead times in the optical manufacturing industry, JML Optical’s vertically integrated rapid prototyping initiative, QuickTurn Optics (QTO), enables us to complete custom assembly and product optical prototyping in as little as one month or one week, respectively. This QTO capability allows our team of expert opticians to provide shorter product development (PD) cycles so that you can bring your product to market faster.

The in-house QTO initiative covers optical assemblies as well as plano, spherical, aspherical, and cylindrical lenses. Rapid prototyping is advantageous for your business as we can quickly generate your prototype for testing, allowing you to address any desired design changes prior to entering full production. This speedy process is particularly beneficial for clients in the aerospace and medical fields.

Optical Component Coating

To adjust reflection, transmission, and other optical properties, manufacturers will apply coatings that help lenses optimize their performance. Differing coating types and techniques can alter the reflective properties of an optical surface, improving its functionality in the proposed application. 

At JML Optical, we utilize advanced in-house coating equipment to customize optical components from 2mm to 500mm for a wide range of environments and applications. For maximum adhesion, JML Optical thoroughly inspects and cleans each part prior to applying a coating. Our technologies incorporate coating material vaporization, and we apply the metal or dielectric layers inside a heated vacuum chamber. After it’s vaporized, we deposit thin, uniform layers of coating onto the optical surface.

Dielectric Coatings

Using zero to 100 layers of reflective, anti-reflective, or bandpass filter coatings, our thin-film dielectric coatings are useful for a variety of products, such as:

  • Telescopes and spectroscopes
  • Gene sequencers
  • Blood analyzers
  • Sights for weapons
  • Semiconductor wafer inspection devices

Mirror Coatings

Mirror coatings reflect incident light in telescope, turning, and collimating mirrors. Metalic broadband mirrors reflect a high degree of incident light over a wide spectral region. Partially reflective mirrors, or beamsplitters, reflect a smaller percentage of such light.

Spherical and Plano Lens Fabrication

Lenses are typically categorized based on their optical surface curvature. A spherical lens has a uniform curvature radius over the clear aperture, and lens shapes include plano-convex/concave, bi-convex/concave, and meniscus. Using a convex or a concave curve, spherical lenses can converge or diverge light to focus it. In contrast, plano lenses are flat, and their surfaces refract light without focusing it. You can use both types of lenses simultaneously to produce the desired effect. They’re highly common lens types as they’ve been around for hundreds of years and are more affordable than other varieties.

Plano and spherical lenses have imaging applications in:

  • Fluorescence microscope platforms
  • Laser-based ophthalmic tools and cameras
  • Tools for semiconductor wafer inspections
  • Laser machine industrial tooling
  • Night vision devices

To learn more about spherical and plano lens fabrication, review our Innovation in Manufacturing case study.

Lens Assembly

A lens assembly is commonly made up of spherical, aspherical, and cylindrical lenses; prisms; mirrors; optical filters; and mechanical mounts. Many OEM instrument companies struggle to properly design and construct an optical assembly. At JML Optical, however, our skilled team has extensive experience in design engineering for optical mechanical and optical electrical components, rapid prototyping, testing and verification, and process improvement.

We have the capability to create custom optical assemblies that include:

  • Imaging objectives
  • Tube and fast (large aperture) lenses
  • Doublet, triplet, and wide FOV lens assemblies
  • Optical and athermal lens systems
  • Viewing prisms

Our background in fabrication, assembly, and metrology has given us an in-depth understanding of our tolerance capabilities, allowing us to accurately predict product manufacturability and performance. Review our Design Hits New Performance Heights case study for a closer look at our custom optical manufacturing capabilities.

Optical Lens and Component Manufacturing

As a leading optical lens manufacturer, JML Optical has the resources, expertise, and equipment needed to create high-quality custom lens assembly and optical products for a wide range of markets. We design, construct, and deliver precision-engineered optical solutions in-house for optimal quality control and a shortened time to market, and the company is ISO 9001:2015 certified, ITAR registered, and RoHS compliant to best serve you.

Contact us to discuss our custom optical manufacturing capabilities or request a quote today to begin your project.