This Topical Meeting will look at how well optics can be made and how to describe precision, particularly as a function of spatial scale of the optic or optical system. Because there is a partially accepted formalism for describing precision in optics by means of a power spectral density, or structure function, where precision is expressed as a function of the fractional size of the optic, can this same formalism be applied to other areas of precision engineering? Using precision in optics as a baseline, how do other fields of precision engineering stack up with methods of manufacture and metrology of optics?
We are soliciting papers that describe precision in all fields of engineering but in terms of angle measure so that independent of size, precision can be compared on a level playing field. For example, the LIGO test masses used to first detect a gravity wave were polished to 0.8 nm peak-to-valley over a diameter of 160 mm, or in angular terms, a variation of 5 nanoradians. Compared to this, for example, how precisely are features positioned on the latest silicon wafers during fabrication. At the other end of the spatial scale, how well aligned are the LIGO test masses at their separation of 4 km?
The idea for this meeting’s theme is an outgrowth of the Stedman diagram of the early 1990’s for characterizing metrology instruments in terms of their linear measurement range versus their slope measuring sensitivity. Can the same sort of comprehensive idea describe the limits of precision in terms of a metric based on the scale of features of the object in question? Further, how much of what is known about the precision of the object is inherent in the object and how much is a limitation of the metrology as a function of scale?