August 1999

The Advantages of Plastic Optical Components

J.P. Menendez, F. Erismann, M.A. Gauvin

Compared to glass, plastic optical components offer numerous advantages to manufacturers, including reductions in cost and weight and greater flexibility in component design. These components are increasingly being used in automotive applications and other consumer technologies.

USING SOFTWARE to Reduce Lightpipe Design Costs

Unseen and unheralded, lightpipes work efficiently and quietly to help illuminate a variety of items used by many people on a daily basis. Formerly difficult and expensive to design, new software reduces both the cost and development difficulties of lightpipes.

Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography

Sweeney and Stulen discuss an optical approach to microlithography used in high volume integrated circuit manufacturing, based on extreme UV radiation, and using a laser produced plasma source of radiation, a reflective mask, and a 4x reduction all-reflective imaging system.

Automotive Exterior Lighting from Filaments to Lasers

The evolation of optics for automobiles continues to be driven by the need for energy efficiency, automobile styling, and the introduction of new power technologies. Future optics innovations may include laser and holographic technologies.

Diffraction Gratings: Part 2

Last month we began in this column a discussion of diffraction gratings. We continue this month by covering reciprocity, the resolving power, Littrow mount, blazed gratings, and dielectric-coated transmission gratings. Please note that some of the figures and references discussed in July are cited here. You will need to refer back to the July issue, pages 42-46, as the figure and reference numbering scheme continues here.

Low-Distortion Fingerprint Detection System

One very interesting area is fingerprint detection, which up to now has been almost exclusively the domain of law enforcement, but which has the potential to be used in optically based replacements for conventional locks and keys. An "optical lock" would consist of a lens system to form an image of a fingerprint on a video camera sensor, and a small computer that would analyze the image to determine whether the owner of the fingerprint is allowed to open the lock. People who routinely spend time searching for lost keys but nevertheless manage to keep track of their thumbs will immediately appreciate the benefits of such a system

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