Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Super Slurry From Belarus Polishes U.S. Optics

Date:
August 2, 1999
Source:
University Of Rochester
Summary:
A high-tech mix used in shock absorbers and clutches in Russian military vehicles has been recast as an award-winning U.S. technology for polishing precision optics, vital components in today's products such as camcorders, CD players, surgical lasers, bar-code scanners, and telescopes.

A high-tech mix used in shock absorbers and clutches in Russian military vehicles has been recast as an award-winning U.S. technology for polishing precision optics, vital components in today's products such as camcorders, CD players, surgical lasers, bar-code scanners, and telescopes.

A team of scientists in Minsk, Belarus, in 1988 came up with the idea of using the slurry to polish glass, an application that piqued the interest of scientists at the University of Rochester's Center for Optics Manufacturing (COM). Initially doubtful, optics expert Stephen Jacobs of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) visited the principal investigator, William Kordonski, in Belarus to see his discovery, and was immediately impressed. The visit resulted in a research collaboration between COM and Byelocorp Scientific Inc., a firm that develops new technologies; the agreement brought Kordonski and members of his team to the United States. Together COM, Byelocorp and Kordonski's team launched a research program at COM in 1994 to perfect the technology. The collaboration has resulted in three patents and commercialization of the technology, known as magnetorheological finishing (MRF), in the optics industry.

Kordonski now works for QED Technologies, a Rochester company that formed following the success of the MRF research program at COM. Last year QED, in cooperation with COM and Byelocorp, introduced the first commercial product using MRF. The machine, the Q22 Magnetorheological Finishing System for polishing high- precision spherical and aspherical lenses, was recently chosen by Photonics Spectra magazine as one of 25 winners of the 1999 Photonics Circle of Excellence Award.

"This has been an exciting and satisfying program to work on. That's extremely fast for a technology to be invented and turned into a commercial product," says Jacobs, who is senior scientist at COM and LLE as well as associate professor of optics and materials science.

The MRF process relies on a unique "smart fluid" which changes viscosity and responds to external conditions. The fluid is a slurry of water and other materials, mainly carbonyl iron powder and an abrasive material, cerium oxide. When exposed to a magnetic field, the mixture temporarily hardens and conforms to the surface of the glass to be polished, making it ideal to polish components of any shape. The water in the slurry softens the glass surface, making it easier for the abrasive particles to scratch off silica molecules and carry away the debris. A pump draws the slurry into a mixing bottle where a circulation system keeps the fluid homogenous.

Such fluids are already used commercially as expensive shock absorbers to cushion the rides of long-haul truckers, but the fluids have remained a niche item in the commercial sector because of their high cost. "What we do at COM is really the only other commercial application for MRF. This is a very high-tech application, and the cost of the fluid is relatively inexpensive compared to the value added to the product," Jacobs says.

Magnetorheological finishing is good news for an industry faced with a dwindling number of master opticians, as fewer and fewer young people take up the craft of glass polishing. With the new technology, a computer program analyzes the errors on the surface of the lens and the shape of the polishing spot to determine the necessary polishing motion and duration. "The MRF process is fast and precise. It does an excellent job polishing glass and surpasses the conventional method," Jacobs says.

The flexibility of the finishing process also makes it handy for producing oddly shaped optical components known as aspheres, highly efficient lenses that are normally very difficult and expensive to produce. The technology has been incorporated as a finishing step for the latest machine developed by COM, a conformal grinder; just last month COM received a prototype of this machine, which makes grinding free-form shapes possible for the first time.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Rochester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Rochester. "Super Slurry From Belarus Polishes U.S. Optics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990802072628.htm>.
University Of Rochester. (1999, August 2). Super Slurry From Belarus Polishes U.S. Optics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990802072628.htm
University Of Rochester. "Super Slurry From Belarus Polishes U.S. Optics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990802072628.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple's new operating system, iOS 8, comes with Apple's killswitch feature already activated, unlike all the models before it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins