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A BETTER Look at Polycarbonate Lens



Polycarbonate lenses are commonly used in many optical applications. Their high impact resistance, low weight, and cheap cost of high-volume production makes them more practical than traditional glass in various applications [1].

Some of these applications require safety (e.g. safety eyewear), complexity (e.g. Fresnel lens) or durability (e.g. traffic light lens) criteria that are difficult to meet without the use of plastics. Its ability to cheaply meet many requirements while maintaining sufficient optical qualities makes plastic lenses stand out in its field. Polycarbonate lenses also have limitations. The main concern for consumers is the ease at which they can be scratched. To compensate for this, extra processes can be carried out to apply an anti-scratch coating.

Nanovea takes a look into some important properties of plastic lens by utilizing our three metrology instruments: Profilometer, Tribometer, and Mechanical Tester.




Surface data of a lens is ideal for obtaining the surface roughness and radius of curvature. These properties influence the optical quality of the lens. Radius of curvature affects the lens’ optical power while surface roughness will influence the scattering of light. In addition, the thickness of the lens will be measured. Lens thickness of the lens will affect its effective focal length.


Example of polycarbonate lens about to be tested on the Nanovea Profilometer


3-D view of front side of polycarbonate lens from application note; amplified 10%


Read full Profilometry testing results!




The quality of the lens will decrease as more defects are on the surface of the lens. Material with high scratch resistance tends to wear less over time and are less prone to defects caused by external sources. Scratch hardness will define the resistance of the sample to scratch defects. This can be used to determine the scratch hardness of the bulk material or effectiveness of a scratch resistant coatings. Additionally, adhesive scratch testing can be conducted to determine the quality of adhesion between the coating and the lens.


Example of polycarbonate lens about to be tested on the Nanovea Mechanical Tester


Figure 12: 3-D view of scratch #3 scratch hardness test from application note


Read full Mechanical Testing results!




Coefficient of friction (COF) can be obtained from tribology testing against various materials. Since plastic lens are used in many different applications, it would be practical to understand how other materials will behave when interacting with the lens. Thus, friction can be minimized (or maximized) when selecting complementary materials. Wear testing demonstrates the durability of the sample in different conditions.


Example of polycarbonate lens about to be tested on the Nanovea Tribometer


Figure 20: 3-D View of wear track created by linear wear test from application note


Read full Tribology testing results!


The Importance of Testing Plastic Lens



The testing and results found during this study is representative of how the sample will perform in real life applications. The results can be used to determine which type of material, process, or design is ideal for the user’s application. Quality control testing can also be repeatedly conducted with our highly accurate instruments.

Read full Application Note here!

Nanovea 2018 Rebranding Visit Us at MRS Boston

Visit Nanovea @ MRS Boston, Nanovea will proudly have each instrument line on display! Including the completely redesigned PB1000 Mechanical Tester and the rebranded PS50 Profilometer and T50 Tribometer. Along with the new branding all instruments have received new staging for increased accuracy and acoustic dampening. Stay tuned, Nanovea has several other game-changing technical advancement coming soon! For more information please Contact Nanovea.

5 AXIS Chromatic Confocal Measurement

Nanovea has delivered on the request for a 5 axis measurement system combined with a chromatic confocal line sensor for fast QC of specialized parts. Watch short Video. To learn more about Nanovea’s Profilometers Learn More

Nanovea Asia Visit 2016

Nanovea has just finished a successful seminar tour throughout Japan and is now currently meeting throughout China. We would like to thank our distributors and existing/potential clients for their time and hospitality.

New Publications Page

OVER 250 RESEARCH ARTICLES USING NANOVEA’S INSTRUMENTS! Nanovea continues to advance measurement and surface research technology. More than 250 research articles featuring Nanovea instruments have been published on peer-reviewed journals.
See the List

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays From The Nanovea Team

Portable Profilometer

Jr25 Portable Profilometer Gets New Design!

The Jr25 is the first truly portable high performance Profilometer of its kind. With an optional battery pack and carrying case, the Jr25 provides measurement capability during field studies. To enhance user convenience and control the entire portable profilometer frame has been extended as gripping handles.

Wood Wear Testing

Wood Wear Testing Using Tribometer

In this study, we simulated and compared the wear testing behaviors of three types of wood to showcase the capacity of Nanovea Tribometer in evaluating the tribological properties of wood in a controlled and monitored manner.

Wood Wear Testing Using Tribometer


Nanovea currently has employment opportunities for a Software Engineer, Entry Level IT, Manufacturing Tech and Intern opportunities at Irvine, CA headquarters. Please send resumes to info@nanovea.com Please no phone calls.

Profilometer For Large Area Measurements


Meet the ST500 Profilometer. After years of success with the ST400 and HS1000 Nanovea introduces the ST500 providing high speed large area measurement without stitching. The ST500 has a 400 mm X-Y Axis Travel, a 50 mm Z Axis with a maximum speed up to 200 mm/s. The system can be equipped with either an optical pen or line scanner for ultra fast measurement (384,000 points per second). Unlike other technologies, each point is a direct, full depth of field during large area measurement without the need of refocusing. A video zoom camera can also be used to provide automatic function to large area measurement complete on a desktop user friendly platform. See app note for example.