How to Clean Customized Optical Components
Although you may only clean your eyeglasses by simply wiping them with a cloth, that is not a suitable method to clean delicate, customized optical components. Optical manufacturers generally use ultrasonic cleaning, but many users do not have such sophisticated equipment. However, proper cleaning methods can improve the performance and longevity of your components.
Handling and storing customized optical components
Customized optical components must be operated in a clean, temperature-controlled environment. Do not touch customized optical components directly with your hands, as skin oils can permanently damage the sensitive surfaces. It is best to handle these delicate components while wearing gloves. For smaller optics, it is useful to use optical tweezers or vacuum tweezers. However, no matter what method is used to clamp the customized optical components, avoid direct contact with the optical surface. Only grasp along the non-optical surface, such as the frosted surface of the customized optical components.
Customized optical components are susceptible to scratches or contamination on their surfaces, so avoid placing customized optical components on hard surfaces. Therefore, when not in use, most components must be wrapped in lens paper and kept in storage boxes specially designed for customized optical components. Since some optically coated elements are hygroscopic, whenever possible, keep these boxes in a low-humidity, clean, temperature-controlled environment.
The condition of the components needs to be checked before use, as well as before and after cleaning. Due to the small size of many contaminants and surface defects, magnification is often required when inspecting customized optical components. Not only is the device enlarged, but the optical surface is sometimes illuminated with bright light to increase the specular intensity of surface contaminants and defects, making them easier to spot.
Optics manufacturers typically recommend cleaning and handling procedures for their products. Permanent damage to customized components may occur if cleaned or handled incorrectly. We often need to blow away dust and other loose contaminants before doing other cleaning techniques. This method requires the use of an inert dust collector or blower. When using inert dust removal gas, please make the gas tank positive before and during use. Do not shake the gas tank before or during use. Then, keep the nozzle away from the customized optical components before blowing. These steps help prevent inert gas propellants from depositing on optical surfaces. When using fill gas, keep the gas tank about 6 inches from the customized optical components, using a short blow. Rotate the nozzle of the inert gas tank so that the nozzle and the surface of the element form a viewing angle and blow air.
Never blow directly onto the surface of customized optical components with your mouth, because saliva is likely to accumulate on the optical surface. Remember, following proper handling and cleaning procedures can improve the performance and longevity of your components.
CRYSTECH Inc. is a global supplier of Alexandrite, KTP, GTR-KTP, RTP and KDP Q-Switch, Nd:YAG and CTH:YAG crystals, thin film polarizers, laser optics and more. The company has become one of the leading manufacturers of KTP crystal and laser components in the world. CRYSTECH has multiple product lines and workshops for crystal growth, orienting, dicing, polishing, and coating.
To request more information or a quotation for these or any CRYSTECH products, contact IL Photonics.