Cleaning of optical components

Optical components such as lenses and prisms require a high level of cleanliness because they directly affect the life of products such as cameras and digital home appliances. This article will introduce how optical components should be cleaned in industrial cleaning, along with maintenance methods that can be performed more easily.

Cleaning of optical components

Optical components include lenses, prisms, glass substrates, mirrors, and apertures. In particular, the surface condition of lenses used in cameras and eyeglasses is very important because they are coated to allow light to pass through properly.

Optical components are composed of multiple materials such as lenses, metals, and plastics (resin components). Therefore, when cleaning optical components, it is necessary to select a method that does not affect each material.

Aqueous cleaners are often used for cleaning. Pitch adhering to the lens can be removed with a solvent-based cleaner, followed by ultrasonic cleaning with a mildly alkaline cleaner, and then rinsed with pure water. Pure water is used to completely remove impurities.

Whether or not IPA (alcohol) is used in the drying process depends on the material of the object to be cleaned. In the case of glass lenses, if the material is stable and simple in shape, cleaning with an aqueous cleaner will be sufficient. However, if the material is unstable and contains a large amount of barium or lead, IPA cleaning is suitable.

On the other hand, when cleaning plastic parts, IPA may dissolve them, so only aqueous cleaners are basically used. However, if the plastic material is resistant to IPA, it can be cleaned with IPA. The cleaning method should be determined based on an overall assessment of the shape and material of the component.

General maintenance methods for optical components

Even after a camera or digital appliance is in the hands of a consumer, regular care of the optical components can extend the life of the product. It is also important to understand how to maintain general optical components.

Optical components are very delicate. Therefore, it is necessary to pay close attention to the cleaner and cleaning method to avoid damaging the components. It is dangerous to perform cleaning work in a dusty place or on a hard table. Avoid blowing dust with your breath.

The following items are required for cleaning.

  • Tweezers or pick-up tools - to hold the parts clean
  • Rubber gloves - prevent oil from your hands from adhering to the parts
  • Cotton swab or lens tissue - gently wipe away dirt.
  • Compressed air - to blow dust off the surface of the parts.
  • Cleaning solution - lens cleaner, isopropyl alcohol for reagents, acetone solution, pure water, etc.

However, it is not advisable to use acetone solution for plastic parts.

The maintenance procedure for optical components varies depending on the component. Please refer to the following instructions for each part.

Lenses and filters

  1. Use compressed air to remove surface contaminants. For light stains, this should be enough.

  2. Put a few drops of acetone solution or isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab or lens tissue and wipe gently from the center of the lens to the outside in a rotating motion. By moving the swab at a speed that allows the cleaning solution to evaporate immediately after the swab has passed, so that there will be no unevenness left behind.

Mirror

  1. Blow dust and dirt off the surface with compressed air. Light stains can be removed with this alone.

  2. Use a cleaning method called the drag method. This is a difficult method and is not suitable for parts that do not have a protective coating.

First, cover the mirror with a piece of lens tissue and then drop acetone solution or isopropyl alcohol evenly over the mirror with a dropper, or cover the mirror with a piece of lens tissue soaked in the solution. Without lifting the lens tissue, slowly drag it across the mirror. The liquid will evaporate evenly as it removes dirt.

Grating

Use compressed air or an air blower to blow off any dirt on the surface. Other cleaning methods are not recommended.

Summary

For optical components, especially lenses, it is important to keep the surface clean. In addition to the cleaning methods and cleaning agents, it is important to handle them with care on a regular basis, for example, always make sure to wear gloves when touching them, and to store them individually in a low-humidity place.