Welcome to the Spring 2017 edition of 'Lens Innovation' - a periodic eNewsletter from Resolve Optics Ltd. Each issue of Lens Innovation is designed to keep you informed about the latest technological developments, applications advances and breaking news in the optical design and manufacture industry.

If a particular feature interests you, do not hesitate to contact us or follow the link for further information. We welcome your feedback.

Mark Pontin (Managing Director)



In this feature Resolve Optics offers its view on areas of topicality within the optics industry, we welcome your feedback.

Standard Versus Non-Browning: what should you consider
before selecting a lens for an application subject to radiation

With the exception of fused silica or quartz all standard 'lower cost' UV-visible glasses react to gamma, neutron and x-ray radiation by turning dark. This means that if you are using a standard lens in areas where there is radiation in weeks or a few months you will lose your image. As a consequence - you will have regular camera / sensor downtime, lens replacement costs, irradiated lens disposal costs and the need to enter the radiation zone to make the lens replacement.

The widely-accepted solution to this is to use non-browning glasses that have Cerium Oxide added which retards the darkening of the glass when exposed to radiation. However be aware, in highly radioactive environments, even non-browning glass types will darken slightly over time.

Compared to the considerable global requirement for UV-visible lenses the market for lenses that will withstand radiation is comparatively small. As a consequence non-browning lenses are typically manufactured in smaller batches to order and compared to standard 'off-the-shelf' UV-visible optics are more expensive to initially purchase.

However before making your choice of lens factor in the cost of the manpower required to regularly change standard lenses, the cost of the plant shut down and the cost of dealing with the old lenses which may now be considered to be radioactive waste.

A non-browning lens will continue to work until it has exceeded its accumulative dose of radiation. In the case of Resolve Optics non-browning lenses they are rated for 100,000,000 rads so depending on the level of radiation they are exposed to daily you could expect the lens to have a life of around 10 years.

While Resolve Optics is renowned worldwide for supplying fixed focus and zoom non browning lenses for applications in nuclear reprocessing and power generation – today our expertise is helping organisations operating in a growing number of different and interesting applications subject to gamma, neutron and x-ray radiation.

In medical research – Resolve Optics radiation resistant lenses form the targeting elements in synchrotron radiation therapy machines and also in commercial x-ray instrumentation. In outer space all instrumentation, sensors and cameras are subject to constant bombardment by radiation that will quickly degrade and make inoperative standard optical components. Space borne applications present a challenging environment, subject to radiation, where camera lens servicing or replacement is highly undesirable. Recently a major space agency selected Resolve Optics to supply them with a selection of high performance, radiation tolerant zoom lenses because of our expertise in this area and willingness to work with them on adapting our standard 3x and 6x non- browning zoom lens designs to be 'space ready'.

To discuss your application subject to radiation please contact us on +44-1494-777100 or sales@resolveoptics.com. To download the Resolve Optics radiation resistant lens range brochure please click here.

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Project News

Providing a Clearer View of Nuclear Reprocessing Plants

There are many operational challenges facing the nuclear industry, and one them is how to develop a monitoring system able to provide clear images of what is happening in the high radiation environment of a nuclear reprocessing plant. A leading nuclear contractor sought a high resolution lens able to withstand the high levels of radiation encountered in reprocessing facilities but also provide a clear crisp image for their 1/3-inch (6mm) rad-hard colour CMOS cameras.

Using specially selected cerium doped glass, Resolve Optics developed a High Definition 10x non-browning zoom lens able to produce clear sharp images free of the strong yellow tint that has traditionally been a limiting issue when using radiation resistant lenses on colour CMOS cameras. The first batch of this new lens is due to ship to the nuclear contractor in Summer 2017 ready for use with their colour CMOS camera system. This new solution will provide an unmatched clear view monitoring system to help further improve the safety of nuclear reprocessing plants.

For further information on specialist radiation resistant lenses please visit www.resolveoptics.com/radiation-resistant-lenses-2/ or contact Resolve Optics on +44-1494-777100 / sales@resolveoptics.com.

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Information Guidelines

Athermalisation Explained

For applications that maybe subject to temperature fluctuations, it is important to develop an optical system that is insensitive to thermal change in the surrounding environment and the resulting system defocus. Developing an athermal optical design, is especially critical in the infrared because the coefficient of thermal expansion of most IR materials is orders of magnitude higher than those of visible glasses, creating large changes in the refractive index.

Athermalisation is the principle of stabilizing optical performance with respect to temperature. Temperature changes experienced by the optics may be with respect to time or space or both.

Passive optical athermalisation is where the optics are designed to not change focus over a temperature range by using the different properties of the different lens materials to compensate for themselves. No moving parts are employed, but very careful attention needs to be paid to the selection of the optical materials and housings.

For more complex optical systems, designers may elect to use active mechanical athermalisation - a technique where lenses are moved via motors to maintain focus with changing temperature.

Passive athermalisation is beneficial in optical systems that are isolated from direct human contact or have limited access to power. Systems that are deployed in space, for example, cannot afford to use the limited battery or solar power to energize motors necessary for maintaining focus. Additionally, motors have limited lifetimes, add weight to launch payloads and cannot be easily serviced once deployed in space. Therefore, it is undesirable to use them unless absolutely necessary.

Hazardous environments can be encountered when performing tasks such as nuclear power plant inspection, where temperatures can reach extremes that are unsafe for constant human exposure. If the optical monitoring system can be passively athermalised, then the available power can be used for transmitting video information or increasing operational time, instead of activating motors to maintain focus.

Resolve Optics offers a design and manufacture service for organisations looking for top quality, high performance lenses able to reliably undertake sensing, detection and measurement applications at high temperature.

Resolve Optics has considerable experience of developing optical systems that will operate up to 950°C without the need for cooling. Lenses capable of operating at such high temperatures, without degradation, have made it possible to remotely inspect the inside of an operating furnace / boiler and non-invasively analyse high temperature processes including incineration, recycling, smelting and chemical manufacturing.

Drawing upon over 20 years of experience – Resolve Optics has a proven track record of producing lens designs where athermalisation of the optical systems ensures that top performance is maintained over a given temperature range.

To discuss your project that may need athermalised optics please contact us on +44-1494-777100 or sales@resolveoptics.com.

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Technology Forum

Challenges in Designing Lenses for Megapixel Cameras

Mark Pontin of Resolve Optics Ltd talks to the editor of the Lens Innovation eNewsletter about trends in industrial vision and the challenges of designing lenses to bring out the full potential of a megapixel camera system.

Lens Innovation: The trend is for cameras and sensors to offer ever increasing resolution, what role does the lens fulfil in these devices and are suitable lenses generally available?

Mark Pontin: The performance of a high-resolution camera or sensor is only as good as the information provided to it. In an optical system this is the function of your lens. If the resolution delivered by a lens is too low, then no matter how many Mega pixels your sensor is your image will be poor. The availability of suitable off-the-shelf lenses depends on your application and whether your sensor/camera conforms to a standard format such as 1/3-inch or 2/3-inch. Typically Off the shelf lens manufacturers cater just for mass markets so they are generally quite slow to follow new emergent trends such as multi-megapixel cameras and sensors. While Off the shelf lenses will be suitable for many applications their use will often require a compromise in terms of achievable performance, field of view or aperture and in some cases all of the above.

Lens Innovation: You are a developer of custom lenses for many industry sectors, which sectors in particular are adopting multi-megapixel cameras and sensors or is this a general industry trend?

Mark Pontin: Yes, this is a general industry trend. Everyone wants higher and higher resolution. This can be driven by a need for greater image detail for example in machine vision but it is also driven by the desire to have the latest technology i.e. sensors and cameras with higher and higher resolution.

Lens Innovation: How can a customized lens help to exploit the full capabilities of a camera or sensor system?

Mark Pontin: The drive for higher resolution devices has necessitated that sensor formats are becoming larger, for megapixel cameras this often means greater than 1-inch format. Off-the-shelf lenses for these new larger formats are generally not available. Consequently, a custom designed lens is the best solution to enable you to maximize the potential of your HD or ultra HD camera. Using such an optimized custom lens will ensure that the lens will not be a bottleneck on achievable image quality. Where Resolve Optics has already developed expertise we can use this to tailor our custom design to meet the exact needs of your application which may enable costs to be reduced. The point to remember is that the lens provides the image quality. If that image quality is not provided, you can have the best camera available but you will still have poor images.

Lens Innovation: There is also the trend of moving away from standard sensor formats. What effects can this have to the lens/camera system and how does it show in your work?

Mark Pontin: We have touched on this question earlier. To achieve greater resolution (more pixels) camera sensors have had to grow in size. As this is an emerging trend inevitably there will be a shortage of suitable off-the-shelf lenses that cover the desired larger formats and have the required resolution. As a company specializing in OEM lens design, development and manufacture for nearly 30 years we have the expertise, experience and flexibility to be able to quickly produce custom lenses to allow you take advantage of the new large format, higher resolution image sensors.

Lens Innovation: Different applications often require camera/sensors to work in different environmental conditions – how do you allow for this in your lens designs?

Mark Pontin: Resolve Optics is experienced in supplying lenses for hazardous and extreme environments. When we are approached to discuss a custom lens design the first thing we do is to truly understand the customer’s application and the environment that the lens will be expected to work in. This could include environmental factors ranging from radiation resistance to extremes of temperature and pressure or to withstand high levels of vibration and shock. Our experience and expertise in creating optical and mechanical designs that meet or exceed the challenges laid out in a customer's specification has enabled us for instance to become a world leader in radiation resistant fixed focus and zoom lenses.

Lens Innovation: So, we have learned that custom lenses can do a lot to solve specific problems compared with standard products. But how big are the investments a customer must deal with and what about the development time?

Mark Pontin: The cost of design and development really depends on the customer’s application and the complexity of the design that is required to meet those needs. If we are talking about a custom fixed focus lens design then generally we would design, develop and supply 5 off prototypes for less than you would pay for one high-end megapixel camera. After the prototypes have been approved the reduced unit cost of the production lenses is dependent on the quantities ordered. Design through to supply of prototype will generally take between 4 to 6 months for fixed focus lenses and from 12 to 18 months for zoom lenses. These times are based on completely new designs.

Lens Innovation: Can you give an example of a 'real world' application and the problems solved by a Resolve Optics custom lens?

Mark Pontin: Recently Resolve Optics developed and supplied a custom 24mm diameter fixed focus radiation resistant lens to a market leader in radiotherapy equipment. The radiotherapy equipment supplier sought a high-resolution lens able to withstand, and precisely focus, the high levels of radiation produced by their synchrotron device onto tumours. As increasing numbers of people require radiotherapy as a key part of their cancer treatment, there is a need for treatment delivery systems that can deliver precise and accurate care quickly. Using cerium-doped glasses, we produced a compact f/2.8 lens able to withstand long-term exposure to radiation up to a dose of 100 million rad without discoloration. This new lens is enabling the customer to improve the precision radiotherapy treatment of tumours that its equipment provides.

For further information on custom lenses for megapixel cameras click here.

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New Product Focus

Radiation Resistant HD Zoom Lens for 1/3-inch Sensors

Resolve Optics announces its new Model 357 non browning zoom lens designed to provides true HD quality images over an unrivalled 10x zoom range.

As the nuclear industry strives to develop better solid state colour CMOS sensors that can withstand higher levels of radiation it has created a demand for high performance radiation resistant lenses able to help fulfil the potential of these sensors. Using specialist non browning glasses the Model 357 is able to produce clear sharp images free of the strong yellow tint that has traditionally been a limiting issue when using radiation resistant lenses on colour sensors. The Model 357 HD 10x zoom lens has been designed to operate in environments subject to high level radiation, such as nuclear fuel handling, reactor active zones and nuclear waste storage plants. The specialist non-browning glass used in the Model 357 is proven to withstand long-term exposure to radiation up to a dose of 100,000,000 rad and temperatures to 55 °C without discoloration. Operating at f/2, the Model 357 provides high image resolution and minimum geometric distortion from 400 to 770 nm, and can image objects from 800 mm to infinity without using add-on adapters. When focused at infinity, the lens achieves high image resolution on axis at full aperture throughout the zoom range without refocusing.

For further information on the Model 357 please click here.



Affordable Ultra Compact HD Zoom Lens

Resolve Optics announces that you can now have access to the many benefits of its unique Z10-HD zoom lens range starting at just £3950. The Z10-HD zoom lens range was designed for space restricted machine vision, broadcast TV and CCTV applications that require top quality high definition images. The motorised 10x HD zoom lens is typically less than half the size and much lighter than other comparable zoom lens. The Z10-HD is the only zoom lens proven to deliver the full capabilities of the latest generation of HD camera systems. Combining ease-of-use, adaptability, compactness, excellent performance and competitive pricing makes the Z10-HD zoom lens the perfect choice for any space restricted application that requires acquisition of high definition images.

For further information please click here.

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Case Study

In this feature we share with you how Resolve Optics specialist lenses and lens systems have helped organisations solve problems and enhance their competitive edge.

Ultra-Compact HD Lens Helps Monitor the Ocean Depths

Designing monitoring systems able to operate for extended periods of time in the depths of the ocean places great demands on all camera system components.

The Z10-HD zoom lens from Resolve Optics has been selected by a leading European supplier of autonomous camera systems to monitor methane seep and hydrothermal vent sites deep in the Pacific Ocean. The Z10-HD was selected due to its uniquely compact size, 10 x zoom capability and HD image quality thereby enabling the Camera developer to minimise the size of their autonomous camera system while still delivering top quality images.

Designed for real-time imaging via an Internet connection, the autonomous camera systems have been deployed at methane seep and hydrothermal vent sites deep in the ocean where they will remain for one year. They are capturing images of the evolving vents and the bacterial and animal life that grows around them. All components in the autonomous camera systems, including the connectors, are made of titanium so the unit can be deployed at a depth of up to 3000 meters for up to a year without maintenance. The whole payload is mounted on a pan and tilt unit so the user can point the camera at desired targets.

For further information on integrating the Z10-HD HD zoom lens into your project please click here.

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Global Optics News

We have trawled the internet to bring to you some topical breaking news items relating to the photonics / imaging industry that we hope you will find of interest. Happy reading !

Steady Growth for Optical Coatings

• The global market for optical coatings is forecast to reach $14.2 Billion by 2021 from $9.5 Billion in 2016, rising at a CAGR of 8.3% according to a new report. The report includes a look at the role that optical coatings are playing in the consumer electronics, solar, telecommunications, transportation, defense, and medical industries.

Further information click here.

Photonics Industry Salary Report

According to the recently published 2017 SPIE Optics and Photonics Global Salary Report, job satisfaction remains high overall in optics and photonics fields. Aerospace is still the highest-paid discipline with a median income of $110,000, according to the report.

Further information click here.

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Wide Angle Adapter for 3-Chip HD Lens

Resolve Optics announces a new data sheet for its Model 387 Wide Angle Adapter. The Model 387 converts the 4 mm focal length Fujinon TF4XA-1 4mm HD lens for 3CCD cameras to a 2.8 mm focal length while maintaining its high definition 200 cycle performance across all the sensors of 1/3-inch 3-CCD or 3-CMOS cameras. In doing this the Model 387 usefully increases the horizontal field-of-view from 71 degrees to a minimum of 95 degrees.

Click here to request further information.

Guide to Radiation Resistant Lenses

Resolve Optics has published a new guide that provides an informative introduction to radiation resistant optics, their capabilities, areas of use and specifications of standard lenses available off-the-shelf.

To download a copy of the guide please click here.

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Resolve Optics Ltd, Asheridge Road, Chesham, Buckinghamshire HP5 2PT, UK.
T: +44 (0) 1494 777100 - F: +44 (0) 1494 775201 - E: sales@resolveoptics.com