A chromatic confocal microscope (CCM) is a high-dynamic-range noncontact distance measurement sensor; it is based on a hyperchromatic lens. The vast majority of commercial CCMs use refractive-based chromatic dispersion to chromatically code the optical axis. This approach significantly limits the range of applications and performance of the CCM. In order to be a suitable alternative to a laser triangulation gauge and laser encoder, the performance of the CCM must be improved. In this paper, it is shown how hybrid aspheric diffractive (HAD) lenses can bring the CCM to its full potential by increasing the dynamic range by a factor of 2 and the resolution by a factor of 5 p while passively athermizing and increasing the light throughput efficiency of the optical head [M. Rayer, U.S. patent 1122052.2 (2011)]. The only commercially suitable manufacturing process is single-point diamond turning. However, the optical power carried by the diffractive side of a hybrid aspheric diffractive lens is limited by the manufacturing process. A theoretical study of manufacturing losses has revealed that the HAD configuration with the highest diffraction efficiency is for a staircase diffractive surface (SDS). SDS lenses have the potential to reduce light losses associated with manufacturing limits by a factor of 5 without increasing surface roughness, allowing scalar diffraction-limited optical design with a diffractive element.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics