The use of polymer optics is found in a wide range of consumer applications
such as digital cameras, PC peripherals, videoconferencing cameras, and
mobile imaging. Laser based bar code scanners of various descriptions
are good candidates for polymer optics. More recently, lightweight image
based scanners have been manufactured to read 2-D barcode images using
a platform that contains multiple optics and a mechanical mount all in
Biometric security systems, smoke detector optics, automated flush valve
systems, and laboratory equipment have all benefited from having precision
polymer optics. Polymer optics are useful for certain telecom and datacom
products and are commonly used to replicate micro structured surfaces
such as Fresnel lenses, refractive-diffractive surfaces, and gratings.
Medical instruments such as laparoscopes and arthroscopes can be built
using polymer singlets and doublets, sometimes in conjunction with traditional
glass elements to correct optical aberrations. Polymer optics can be used
for non-imaging applications in medical devices as well.
Imaging systems such as those found in night-vision devices are a good
example of how the properties of polymers can combine to address several
key performance issues. Replacing a glass element with a plastic element
can reduce weight in the system. A plastic element is approximately a
factor of 2 to a factor of 5 lighter in weight than the glass element
being replaced. Moreover, since polymer optics can be readily designed
and manufactured with aspheric surfaces (resulting in a possible reduction
in the total element count) the use of one or more polymer elements in
the system is well advised.
The Intersect Laser Level is designed and
manufactured by Irwin Industrial Tools
The MS-820 Barcode Scanner is designed and manu-
factured by Microscan Systems Inc., Renton, WA.
The AN/AVS-9 Aviator Goggles are
manufactured by ITT Industries Inc.