New lens-polishing technology comes to Rochester

GovWin a Deltek Network
August 14, 2013

Upstate company ITT Exelis has been given a two-million-dollar polishing machine that generates industrial lenses with virtually no imperfections.

Dan Adams is the Director of precision optics at Exelis in Rochester. He says the lenses finished in the M-R-F machine are currently being used in laser research into the ultimate renewable energy: nuclear fusion power.

But that technology remains decades away.

In the meantime laser fusion research labs are using the high-precision optics to maintain the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.

With the banning of atmospheric nuclear testing 60 years ago, Dan Adams says regular simulations need to be run to monitor the status of nuclear warheads.

“These tests are used to verify that the stockpiles are still good. And so that’s another application for these laser fusion research facilities.”

The MRF machine was purchased for Exelis by the University of Rochester, and many of the lenses it makes will be going back to the school’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics.

Adams says this cutting edge optics technology allows Exelis, and western New York, to be in on the ground floor of nuclear fusion energy development.