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Why Create Custom Optics? 5 Useful Roles They Fill in Industry

You may have heard of optics in the context of eyesight and eyewear. As you’ve learned in biology, our eyes have optic nerves and we go to optical shops to buy designer optics.

However, optics don’t necessarily relate only to sight. Optics is a branch of physics that studies the behavior of light. As such, it’s a broad subject that’s related to a wide range of industries.

As the 21st century is the “Age of Light“, optics have become the dominant influencing technology. Custom optics, in particular, play several roles in the modern world.

Why are these important? Check out some examples of their applications below.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging is the process of converting thermal energy into visible light. It detects infrared radiation. Then, produces images for the analysis of the temperature differences in the surroundings.

In much simpler words, it allows you to see living beings and other objects that emit heat. It’s great for surveillance, hunting, robotic vision, and military applications.

A thermal imaging system is heavily reliant on the detector. Only with high-quality components can it produce high-quality images for more accurate analysis.

For sensitive uses, such as military and AI, the optical components are important. You’ll see these devices in military vehicles, naval ships, and so on. The optics must be durable and transmissive enough for heavy-duty use.

In such applications, custom optics are the better choice as opposed to stock optics. This ensures that the optics follow the strict requirements of every industry.

Some industries also have standards that the equipment must adhere to. With such tricky measurements, the manufacturing process of custom optics also gets tricky. It must be precise; you’ll have to find out more to understand it.

LED Lighting

As optics is a broad subject, it’s not surprising it also has applications in more mundane stuff. LED lighting also uses custom optics, but it’s more complicated than you think.

LED lighting can use different optics depending on the user’s needs. For example, they can control the beam angle, create diffused light, or concentrate the output light to a specific area.

The optics in the system make all these possible. It can alter the intensity and directionality of the light. It involves cutting off or limiting output light and managing the spatial distribution.

That said, LED lighting isn’t only for residential use. After all, the functions above have more importance in other applications.

Indoor horticultural grow lights, for instance, have more specific requirements. They need the light source to direct the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) as much as possible to the surfaces of the plants’ leaves.

LED lights in sports arenas have different requirements, as well. The light should be bright enough for the athletes and audiences to see what’s going on. At the same time, it shouldn’t blind the spectators and players.

These are why custom optics are dominant in this field, as well. Having the right specifications will allow any LED lighting to perform specific duties.

Prisms

In optics, a prism is a glass or any other transparent material in the shape of a prism. In geometry, it’s a solid, 3-dimensional figure with bases facing each other. Bases are identical shapes, which can be parallelograms, rectangles, triangles, and so on.

The most common one is a triangular prism. In optics, it’s most often depicted as a refracting surface that separates white light to form a spectrum.

Industries like aerospace, aircraft, and such use prisms for different purposes. Even science teachers have a use for them.

After all, they’re pretty useful in learning the properties of light. Students around the world can mimic Isaac Newton’s experiments through prisms. You won’t need custom optics for this application, though.

You need it for creating high-precision prisms. These are useful in surveying instruments, laser alignment, astronomy, visual targeting, and more. There’s no mass production for these types of prisms, so you need custom optical designs for these.

Precision Motion Control Systems

Precision motion control systems are seeing higher demands this decade. This is a result of the fast advancements toward automation. Every industry is getting more dependent on faster and smarter equipment.

Feedback-based systems rely on the input to provide output. In many cases, they also perform corrective actions so that the actual input matches the desired position. It allows you to get your desired output with little to no margin of error.

These systems rely on lasers and optics in addition to other positioning technologies. In a closed and open-loop operation, an optical encoder feeds the information into a closed-loop controller. This allows for exact position control.

Such machines have to be custom-fit to the industry’s requirements. Automation solutions rely on the actual processes they need to perform. As many systems are unique, custom optics are a must in this field, as well.

Microscopes

The microscope itself is an optical device, commonly used in laboratories to observe objects at a cellular level. A scientist, for example, can observe the different parts of a cell using this device.

Studying the behavior of bacteria also requires such an instrument. For this purpose, you’ll need one with at least 400x magnification. At 1,000x magnification, you’ll get a better view of these microbes.

However, these are rather standard uses for microscopes. Some devices have more powerful magnification, such as electron microscopes, which can magnify objects up to 2 million times.

With any modern microscope, though, the most important part is the lens. The lens manipulates the light to make objects appear bigger. Passing through a convex lens, the light bends toward the eye to achieve this effect.

Find Out More Uses of Custom Optics

These are only five applications of custom optics. It has other uses in automotive, data collection, aerospace, medical, and many more industries.

All of them have one thing in common: they need high-quality optics customized for use in specialized machines. Their uses are too technical and precise to rely on stock options. If you want to learn more, visit our website today.