Thales has patented an optical system with variable focal distance using two mirrors and a KB mechanical assembly. Each mirror has a deformable useful portion to adjust the focal distance within a predetermined range. This innovation allows for precise control over the focal length for various applications. GlobalData’s report on Thales gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Thales, Drone swarm control was a key innovation area identified from patents. Thales's grant share as of February 2024 was 68%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Optical system with variable focal distance using deformable mirrors

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Thales SA

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11921432B2) discloses an optical system with a variable focal distance within a predetermined range. The system includes two mirrors with adjustable width and thickness, supported by a KB mechanical assembly to form a propagation path for incident radiation at a grazing angle. Each mirror has a deformation mechanism to generate curvature along its length, allowing for focal distance adjustment within the predetermined range. The system offers flexibility in focal distance control for various applications.

Furthermore, the patent describes additional features such as attachment ends on the mirrors for deformation mechanism attachment, the use of actuators to generate bending moments, and the selection of mirror width based on the direction of radiation propagation. The system also includes mechanisms for translational and rotational movement of the support, a control module for managing the deformation mechanism operation, and the ability to interchange mirrors to modify the focal distance range. These innovative elements contribute to the adaptability and versatility of the optical system, making it suitable for a wide range of optical applications requiring variable focal distances. Overall, the patented optical system presents a comprehensive solution for precise focal distance control within a predetermined range, enhancing its usability in diverse optical setups.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.