Quote:Yawn. A 5 digit price tag isn't very high compared to the costs of deep space exploration. Yes, we got it you're working in a lab, Airy-discus. Don't need to tell every time lab stories. However we don't get it that you're getting there a five digit salary per month ^_^ because then I could understand your diminishing attitude. Can I also apply of such a 5 digit job at Lensrental's? Just kidding.
For less than 6 digits I don't get up in the morning.
I am sorry if I offend - that is not my intention. The OLAF Lab is quite mundane compared to the lab I work in at college (though I made many more dollars at OLAF than I do as a student researcher
As an example of a recent experiment, we are in the testing phases of an aberration-free telescope which we will use to study nodal aberration theory applied to nonrotationally symmetric surfaces by injecting aberrations into a "pure" system and studying the effects based on the injection location of the aberrations in the optical system.
We have essentially put coma into a window plate and will add that to the system. To fabricate the plate we start with a $20 100mm diameter window of N-BK7 and make 7 deterministic polishing runs. Each requires pre and post metrology of the surface and takes approximately 14 hours. This is done on a Fizeau interferometer which costs $100,000 - $750,000 depending on the model and requires a highly trained technician. The deterministic polisher is somewhere in the low millions. When completed, the piece is worth $25,000 - $75,000 as quoted from a few freeform-capable manufactures simply due to the machinery and time needed.
Freeform is essentially "super-aspheres," but an aspheric lens of that diameter would cost $250-$2500 depending on the maximum slope of the surface. Make it double-sided and the cost increases to more like $750-$7500.
Reduce the diameter to 1/3 that, but ask for 2-3 of these in a system with 9 other elements, a mechanical barrel, coatings, some QC testing, warranty, etc, and you must sell it for $999. Tough price to meet.
Look at the collimators used in an MTF bench for example. They have non-aggressive specs - 300mm f/6 and extremely limited FoV for example. The manufacture will ask $10,000 - $15,000 for one. Canon manages to produce a 300mm f/2.8 with a much wider FoV, adjustable focus, autofocus, an image stabilizer, and advanced mechanics for $6,000. To those making optics for research, defense, private industry, or biomedical applications that kind of aggressive pricing is unheard of. Photographers wonder why the lenses aren't finished in a fine gold leaf for that price, but you get an enormous
value for your money. The fluorite elements in the 300/2.8 on their own are worth about half its price in raw materials alone ($750-$1000/lb) let alone the processing and manufacturing of the elements.