The use of diamonds to generate precision patterns and precision surfaces on a micrometer or nanometer scale has a history that dates back centuries. Uses of diamond in semi-automated machinery can be traced to ruling machines, pantographs, and ornamental turning with "diamond turning" dating back about a century. Poor behavior in machining more common materials (e.g. ferrous alloys) has limited diamond use in traditional industrial machining. The niche of
the single crystal diamond is its edge sharpness and the ability to produce near-optical finish in materials such as aluminum, copper and their alloys; however, due to machine limitations, diamond machining remained a novelty until relatively recently. A convergence of machine technologies developed for both weapons and commercial applications led to modern diamond turning. Current turnkey machines can produce contoured surfaces with surface finish in the range of 5 nm Ra and long range accuracy of micrometers or less. Macroscopic scale, three axis, diamond machining is a well-developed technology; machining of features on a micrometer and submicrometer scale is a new and rapidly developing application of single crystal diamond machining. The role of this technology in micro-optics replication has
yet to be fully defined.© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.