Enabling precision coordinate metrology for universal optical testing and alignment applications

Manal Khreishi, Raymond G. Ohl, Joseph M. Howard, Jonathan C. Papa, Ryan McClelland, Clark Hovis, Theodore Hadjimichael, Patrick Thompson, Kenneth Ranson, Rongguang Liang, Nicolas Gorius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Optical designs for the next generation space science instruments call for unconventional, aspheric, and freeform (FF), prescriptions with tight tolerances. These advanced surfaces enable superior-performance, compact, and lower cost systems but are more challenging to characterize and, hence, to fabricate and integrate. A method was developed to characterize a wide range of optical surfaces, without requiring custom-made correctors, and to align them to each other for a high-performance optical system. A precision coordinate measuring machine, equipped with a non-contact, chromatic confocal probe, was used to measure numerous optics including large convex conics, high-sloped aspherics, several FF surfaces, and grazing-incidence x-ray optics. The resulting data were successfully reduced using custom-developed, advanced surface fitting analysis tool, to determine the optic's alignment relative to the global and local coordinate systems, surface departure from design, and the as-built optical prescription. This information guided the modeling and the alignment of the corresponding as-built optical systems, including a flight system composed of a three-mirror anastigmat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035106
JournalOptical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Precitec probe
  • aspheric
  • coordinate measuring machine
  • freeform
  • grazing incidence
  • large convex
  • optical alignment
  • optical metrology
  • optical shop testing
  • universal optical testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Engineering


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