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When robotic optical fabrication is approaching the desired figure, The job is passed to precision figuring technologies to efficiently and accurately converge to the specifications. Safran Reosc invests in IBF since the 90's and is also equipped with MRF machinery for smaller optics.
Ion Beam Figuring
Safran Reosc set up its first IBF in 1992 with a 1300 mm optics diameter capacity. Since this time we much refined the process which delivers nm accurate optical surfaces without generating edge effects. Another advantage of IBF technology is it capacity, on lightweight mirrors, to remove surface quilting generated by the previous pitch polishing operations.
Despite its constraint to be operated under vacuum, IBF remain a real production tool thanks to its high deterministic convergence towards the smoothest optical figure.
For the Gran Telescopio Canarias Project we set-up in 2000 a 2.5-m IBF chamber, probably the world largest IBF machine, for the final figuring of the 42 1.8-m segments down to the specifications.
More recently, we set-up a smaller size chamber for optics in the 100 – 500 mm range. Here we routinely achieve less than 0.5 nm RMS figure error optical surfaces.