Although ion beam figuring (IBF) provides a highly deterministic method for the precision figuring of optical components, several problems still need to be addressed, such as the limited correcting capability for mid-to-high spatial frequency surface errors and low machining efficiency for pit defects on surfaces. We propose a figuring method named deterministic ion beam material adding (IBA) technology to solve those problems in IBF. The current deterministic optical figuring mechanism, which is dedicated to removing local protuberances on optical surfaces, is enriched and developed by the IBA technology. Compared with IBF, this method can realize the uniform convergence of surface errors, where the particle transferring effect generated in the IBA process can effectively correct the mid-to-high spatial frequency errors. In addition, IBA can rapidly correct the pit defects on the surface and greatly improve the machining efficiency of the figuring process. The verification experiments are accomplished on our experimental installation to validate the feasibility of the IBA method. First, a fused silica sample with a rectangular pit defect is figured by using IBA. Through two iterations within only 47.5 min, this highly steep pit is effectively corrected, and the surface error is improved from the original 24.69 nm root mean square (RMS) to the final 3.68 nm RMS. Then another experiment is carried out to demonstrate the correcting capability of IBA for mid-to-high spatial frequency surface errors, and the final results indicate that the surface accuracy and surface quality can be simultaneously improved.
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