Low Cost Molded Optics for Small Caliber Projectiles

Period of Performance: 01/13/2003 - 07/12/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Beamtek, Inc.
3149 S. Chrysler Ave.,
Tucson, AZ 85713
Principal Investigator


This SBIR Phase I project proposes to develop a manufacturing method of molded glass optical ogive for the Light Fighter Lethality Projectile, a small caliber-maneuvering projectile. Low cost chalcogenide glasses will be used, which exhibit an excellent transmission in the 7 to 14 mm wavelength region and suitable thermal and mechanical properties for direct molding lens fabrication. Molded optics provides the required target transmission characteristics and the manufacturing cost savings not possible with conventional grinding process. Lens with diffractive structure will be employed to compensate the chromatic aberration of chalcogenide glasses. Support structure of the optical components will be designed based upon the tolerance analysis of installing and aligning of the optical system. In Phase I program a chalcogenide glass meniscus lens will be molded. The surface quality and the size of the lens will be characterized in order to correlate the relationship between the resulted lens quality and the molding parameters. In Phase II we will also develop new materials, which exhibit superior performance to currently available materials, to improve their mechanical properties and resistance to thermal-shock. This low cost, molded optic infrared lens is applicable to both military and non-military optical systems. This low-cost manufacturing method can dramatically reduce the cost of high quality infrared lenses, which are needed for military and civil infrared imaging systems.