SPIE - The International Society for Optics and Photonics

Materials for Precision Instruments (SC016)


This course covers selection and processing of materials for enhanced performance in optical and instrument systems. Emphasis will be on choosing the right material for the application. The importance of various thermal and mechanical properties, and related figures of merit will be presented and they will be compared for various materials. The dependence of these properties on temperature and other variables will be discussed with respect to system design and operation. Issues such as dimensional stability, options for mirrors and structures, and athermalization will be discussed. Fabrication methods will be described for most materials. Materials covered include: glasses and glass-ceramics, silicon carbide, composites, aluminums, invars, and other metals. Specific materials problems of attendees will be discussed as time permits.

This course will enable you to:

  • identify material properties important for your application
  • understand the thermal dependence of properties
  • distinguish between various materials and grades
  • perform trades to determine suitable material(s)
  • explain causes and solutions for dimensional instability
  • specify manufacturing processes for enhanced dimensional stability.

Engineers, scientists, managers and technicians involved in materials selection and design of optical systems and precision instruments.

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