Optical Prism

Jan. 17, 2020

Light guide prism suppliers share with you: Prisms are solid glass optics that have been frosted and polished into geometrically and optically distinct shapes. Angle, position, and number of optical planes help define type and function. One of the most recognized prism uses demonstrated by Sir Isaac Newton involves dispersing a beam of white light into its component colors. The devices that make use of this application are refractometers and spectral elements. As a result of this initial discovery, prisms have been used in the system to "refract" optical fibers, "fold" the system into a smaller space, change the direction of the image (also called spin or parity), and Partially reflective surface. These uses are very common in the use of telescopes, magnifying glasses, measuring instruments, and many other applications.

A significant feature of custom optical prism is its ability to mimic a flat mirror system to simulate light reflections in a prism medium. Changing mirror assemblies is probably the most useful prism application because they both refract or fold light and change image alignment. To achieve an effect similar to a single prism, multiple mirrors are often required. Therefore, replacing a few mirrors with one prism can reduce potential calibration errors, improve accuracy, and reduce the size and complexity of the system.

Before delving into the theory of light guide prism, consider its manufacturing process. To be successful in most applications, prisms must be manufactured with very tight tolerances and precision. Due to variations in shape, size, and number of most important reflective surfaces, large-scale automated processes are completely unfeasible for prism manufacturing. In addition, most high-precision prisms tend to be manufactured in small quantities, meaning that automated processes are unnecessary.

First, obtain a piece of glass (called a "glass blank") that matches a particular grade and glass type. This glass is then sanded, or a metal diamond wheel is used to produce a nearly finished product. Most glass is removed from this stage, forming a flat but still rough surface. At this point, the size of the prism to be used is very close to the required specifications. Next, there is a fine grinding process to remove subsurface cracks on the surface; this stage is called fine grinding. Scratches left in the first stage will be removed in the second stage. After finishing, the glass surface should appear cloudy and opaque. In the first two stages, the prism surface must be wet in order to speed up glass removal and prevent the glass itself from overheating.

Custom Optical Prism

Custom Optical Prism

The third stage involves polishing the prism to the specified accuracy according to the specifications. At this stage, the glass is rubbed with a polyurethane polisher moistened with a "pulp", which is an optical polishing compound that typically contains a mixture of water with pumice or cerium oxide (Figure 2c). The exact time of the polishing phase depends very much on the specs required. Once polished, you can start chamfering. In this fourth stage, the edges of the prism will pass through a rotating diamond plate, sharpening the sharp edges formed in the above steps slightly. After chamfering, the finished prism will be cleaned, inspected (by both manual and automatic methods), and anti-reflection (AR) and / or metallic reflective coatings if necessary to further help improve overall transmission and / or reflectance .

Throughout the prism manufacturing process, every mirror surface in progress needs to be constantly adjusted and fixed. Fixing the prism in place involves one of two methods: blocking and contact. Prevents the need to arrange prisms in metal tools injected with hot wax. Contact, on the other hand, is an optical bonding process at room temperature that fastens two clean glass surfaces together through their Van der Waals interaction. The contact method is used when high tolerances are required because it does not require additional adjustments during the generation, smoothing or polishing stages to take into account the wax thickness between the prism surface and the contact block.

At each stage of the prism manufacturing process, from creation to prevention and contact, a skilled optometrist is required to manually inspect and adjust the prism surface being processed. Therefore, it requires a lot of labor and requires experience and skill to complete it. The entire process usually requires a considerable amount of time, work, and focus.

Prism type:

There are four main types of prisms: dispersion prisms, deflecting or reflecting prisms, rotating prisms, and offset prisms. Deflection, offset, and rotation prisms are commonly used in imaging applications; diffusion prisms are dedicated to dispersive light sources and are therefore not suitable for any application that requires high-quality images.


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