A straight edge is an optical component with at least one very precise flat used as a reference surface. Even though many different configurations are possible, a straight edge typically has a high aspect ratio, is typically made of very low Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE) material, has an optical quality surface and most importantly a highly precise surface with very low flatness.
Straight Edges are available from manufacturers in a variety of materials, such as metals, granite, glass, and ceramic, and are available in various tolerances (deviation from the ideal). The straight edge you select depends on the tolerance requirements of the application. A machinist's straight edge may have a tolerance of 25 µm (0.001 inch) over its length, and some higher-precision straight edges may have a tolerance of only 1 µm.
Zygo specializes in extreme precision straight edges for applications requiring flatness tolerances as stringent as 25 nm (or less) – approximately 1000 times better than a machinist's straight edge – and we maintain that tolerance over the entire reference surface, up to 1 meter in length. The quality of all Zygo straight edges is verified by our large-aperture interferometer systems, and test results are included with the product.
Zygo can also perform glass and ceramic machining to create reference surfaces in other shapes, such as L-mirrors and alignment blocks, with complex geometries and precision angles with tolerances of < 2 arc sec.
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