With such dimensions in the nano range, it is no surprise that measurability is an important issue. “The technology has developed rapidly in the last few years. Today, coatings that looked impossible 15 years ago are now commonly fabricated,” says Lumeau. “The challenge is to further improve the precision of the layer thickness and reach atomic precision for each layer.” For this reason, the Institut Fresnel and Bühler are planning to work together on improving optical measuring systems (OMS). The goal is to create new methods for OMS that automatically perform the evaluations and are therefore much more precise than today’s systems.
The new OMS technique is not the only project that could be of interest to the optical industry. Institut Fresnel and Bühler are also working on developing a variable filter. This should allow several color values to be visible at the same time. “People no longer want to be able to capture only one spectral value with one filter, but instead several at the same time,” says Lumeau.
To make this possible, it is necessary for the individual layers of a filter to be of various thicknesses in different spots. “Bühler offers us the best technology on the market for manufacturing homogeneous complex filters,” Lumeau says. “Using this as the basis, we are developing a prototype process for variable filters.” Institut Fresnel, in turn, is making the results of its research available to Bühler. “We are developing a standard process from this and will offer it to our customers,” says Yvonne Bonnin-Degner, Area Sales and Service Manager for Bühler. “This is the perfect merging of research and industry,” adds Lumeau.