3D-Printed Lightweight Optics for Directed Energy Systems

Period of Performance: 03/16/2016 - 03/15/2018


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Optimax Systems, Inc.
6367 Dean Parkway Array
Ontario, NY 14519
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


It is proposed that using additive manufacturing to fabricate a lightweight optic would result in a weight reduction of the optical system, since 3D-printing provides superior flexibility in the geometric design of the lightweight optic. In addition, the conventional approach to lightweight an optic requires machining of mechanically-hard optical substrates such as SiC, which is time-intensive and requires costly and dedicated equipment. In contrast, 3D-printing requires no machining to reduce weight. 3D-printing also offers the capability to produce near-net shape optical surfaces with complex geometries. Phase I determined it was feasible to design a 3D-printed optic with low areal density and good thermal stability, as well as produce a 3D-printed demonstration optic with good optical figure and mirror coatings with high laser damage threshold, low absorption, and good mechanical integrity. Phase II will extend these results through creating and testing 3D-printed prototype optics. The optics will utilize new and novel 3D-printable materials, improved finite element analysis (FEA) modeling designs, and an improved optical coating. Approved for Public Release, 15-MDA-8303 (1 July 15)