Optical Testing

RCI personnel have nearly a combined 100 years of experience in optical testing, with the result being that we understand there are many ways to prove an optical assembly is performing. RCI has designed collimators for specific jobs that project MTF 3-bar targets into the unit under test (UUT). RCI has a 6-inch aperture reflective collimator for projecting a collimated beam into a UUT for evaluation of the point image that results (very useful for determining specific aberrations). Inspection of these images can be done by eye (for visible wavelengths) or via camera (for visible and near-IR wavelengths). The advantage of the eye over the camera is the sensing of very fine and/or faint detail due to the large dynamic range of the eye. RCI has a phase-shifting ESDI Z-100 interferometer which is useful for quantifying the wavefront quality of the image. The analysis software of the interferometer also allows for MTF computation, but it is only valid at the 632.8 nm wavelength.

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Prototyping and Production

Ruda-Cardinal, Inc. specializes in designing and manufacturing unique and complex optical systems from proof of concept prototypes through full production runs for a wide variety of demanding applications. One of our keys to launching a successful product is RCI's ability to get to the root of a design and determine what exactly is needed and to discard any prior misconceptions.

We tailor our services to our clients' needs for a wide range of production requirements and schedules:

  • Near term — proof-of-concept design and rapid prototyping (~4 to 16 weeks)
  • Mid-term — pre-production prototypes (12 — 24 weeks)
  • Long term — 12 weeks to < ∞

RCI's Partial Industrial Base

  • Aerospace
  • Agricultural
  • Automotive
  • Biomedical
  • Data Storage
  • Department of Defense
  • Hollywood
  • Hyper-Spectral
  • Lithography
  • NASA
  • Nat'l Labs
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Telecom
  • Universities

RCI is outfitted to produce small precision optical assemblies as well as large, industrial scale optical systems. RCI also has the capability to produce ruggedized systems that are performance tested in the harsh environmental theaters demanded by military and space applications.

Whether your optical system is reflecting, aspheric, off-axis or super high precision, RCI can design, build, align and test it. RCI's production staff is well versed in assembling common mechanical features such as zooming cams, motorized irises or focus compensators. Over the years, many diverse and uniquely different optical assemblies have been built in RCI's lab. This broad spectrum of assembly challenges, many of which have pushed the envelope of what's possible, has been key to the development of RCI's preeminent production staff. The solutions that come from solving these challenges become part of the RCI toolbox and are used to meet ever more demanding needs.

High Precision Alignment

Ruda-Cardinal, Inc. has developed techniques for assembling lenses down to the sub-micron level for high precision optical systems. We have many years of experience in building these systems, many of which are up against the diffraction limit.

Prototyping and Production

Ruda-Cardinal, Inc. excels at the process of turning theoretical designs into tangible prototypes and then into successful products ready for manufacturing. RCI also offers rapid prototyping for our customers who need a system yesterday. Our engineers work hand in hand with our production staff, ensuring that at each step optimal, workable and cost effective products are produced. RCI's diverse client base exemplifies our creative engineering solutions and our broad experience in customized design work.


RCI has an arsenal of custom test collimators to accommodate the various FOVs and focal lengths.

Custom Lab Setups and Test Equipment:

In house development for the tough projects require innovative solutions:


RCI has clean environments for optical assemblies that require extra special care in dust/particle management.

Custom Assembly Stations:

RCI's engineering team works closely with the production staff in developing custom tooling, fixtures, alignment and testing work stations. RCI has many years of experience in optical alignment and great care is taken in creating alignment plans. By the time an optical system is ready for production, a full alignment test plan is documented, outlining in detail the entire alignment process as well as showing supporting schematics and prints generated by the Solidworks model.

Certified IPC Specialist:

RCI's production capabilities include J-STD-001 certified solder technicians for electronic assembly. The IPC J-STD-001 certification has become a prominent authority in electrical assembly and manufacturing. Many companies worldwide rely on the integrity of this certification to qualify their electronics for use in aerospace and military applications. RCI has a fully-equipped solder station and certified, experienced personnel to ensure the reliability of electronic assemblies.