BMV Custom Optics Blog

The fine art of polishing custom optics

The traditional, hands-on method of polishing optical components continues to provide the most accurate results possible. BMV’s reputation for excellence in this field stems from equal attention to four priorities: quick turnaround, reliability, fair pricing and the fact that all work is performed in-house which contributes greatly to quality and consistency. Among the products we routinely manufacture are custom and volume optics, plano optics including precision and ultra-precision flats, etalons, air spaced etalons, glass, crystalline and metal optics, spherical and cylindrical lenses, mirrors, windows, prisms, beam splitters, gaussian reflectivity mirrors and more.

Our carefully-controlled process begins with mounting the optic and selecting a polishing tool. Once the appropriate polishing compound is chosen, the technician must manage four simple variables: preparation of the polishing lap, speed of rotation, stroke of optic and application of weight. While there are only four polishing parameters, the possible combinations are infinite, which is why traditional polishing requires many years to master and is considered an art form. Highly skilled technicians take ownership of polishing an optic throughout the entire process through repeated visual inspection of the optic and interferometric testing to assure it meets the desired specifications including Radius of Curvature (RoC) and surface figure. Surface figure is measured in wavelengths of light, down to the nanometric level and more. It is this attention to detail that enables us to consistently deliver top-quality optics to clients around the world.