latest news


IR Interferometer For Aerospace Applications 13/12/06

We are pleased to announce that we have won an order for an INTERFIRE II 3-5 interferometer from a major aerospace manufacturer in the United States. The instrument will be used to monitor the quality of some optical components and systems to be used in a space satellite. Precision Solutions Sales & Marketing Manager, Robin Addison, said: “We worked in close collaboration with our US distributor, The Cooke Corporation, on this project. It shows that exhibitions are still a powerful force in marketing scientific instrumentation, as our initial contact with this customer was made at an optics show in the US.”


Diamond Turning Business Doing Well 30/11/06

Our diamond turning business continues to progress very well. Business Development Manager, Simon Pearson, said: “We’re pleased to see that a lot of our recent orders have come from new customers. We know that many of our customers come back for repeat business, so this bodes very well for future business as well. We have seen an upturn in prototyping, particularly in the aerospace industry. We have been manufacturing more lenses, as well as more mirrors in electroless nickel”.

New Commercial Administrator 13/11/06

We are delighted to welcome to Janet Wilcox as our new Commercial Administrator. Janet has over 24 years experience at MBDA primarily in secretarial and PA roles, so she has a superb knowledge of the organisation! Reporting to Commercial and Finance Manager, George Old, Janet has taken responsibility for a wide range of commercial activities including bids, licences, contracts, work loading, project interface, internal sales and tender approval submissions.


New Business Manager For Precision Solutions 23/10/06

Peter Gordge has been appointed as Business Manager for a range of services offered by Precision Solutions. Peter’s specific responsibility is for the supply of a host of environmental testing facilities, as well as electromagnetic compatibility testing and radiation effects.

Peter has an excellent track record, having gained sound engineering experience in a complex manufacturing environment at Thales Optronics (Taunton) Ltd (formerly Avimo Ltd) including managing a Production Engineering Department and leading multi functional product development teams. This led to a role in business development where he had responsibility for multi-million pound contracts including strategic, technical, programme and commercial activities. This included company representation and liaison with customers, suppliers and corporate divisions throughout North America, Europe and Asia and successful key account management of major aerospace and defence companies.

Peter has specialised in advanced plant and process technology for beryllium and beryllium composite manufacturing used for the production high precision optics and structures for a wide range of military and civil applications. These include structures for airborne gimbals, airborne pods and satellites, mirrors for airborne electro optics modules, thermal imagers, stabilised heads, satellites, resonating scanners and rotating scanners.

IR Interferometer And Diamond Turned Components  On Show At Photonex 06 13/09/06

We will be showing the INTERFIRE II 3-5 interferometer and a comprehensive display of diamond-turned components on Stand C43 (Armstrong Optical Ltd) at the Photonex 06 exhibition at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry UK, 18th & 19th October 2006. These include lenses, mirrors and mould tools, featuring complex non-spherical surfaces on a range of optical materials and metal alloys.

The INTERFIRE 3-5 is part of the INTERFIRE II family of infrared interferometers and is used to monitor the quality of optical components and systems in the 3-5 micron region of the spectrum. Other instruments in the range operate at 10.6 micron, 9.2 - 10.7 microns tunable, 1.55 microns and 850 nm. The INTERFIRE-II 3-5 may be used in production, quality control or research applications.

P-OE's diamond turning facility is one of the largest in the UK, containing five single point diamond turning lathes with a range of capacities. Optical components up to 700 mm diameter can be accommodated for the manufacture of large optics such as mirrors for applications in, for example, astronomy.

Stringent Audit Passed with Flying Colours 11/9/06

Following a stringent Quality Audit, in line with maintaining its ISO9000 approval, P-OE has now been approved under the aerospace ISO equivalent AS9100. Now that P-OE is a part of the new MBDA business group, Precision Solutions, all quality issues come under the company’s wider quality Directive. Having passed with flying colours, this AS9100 approval has been expanded to cover the field of electro-optics.

New Technical Datasheet Available for Download 14/8/06

We are pleased to announce that a copy of our latest technical datasheet is now available for free download. DM007, entitled "Accuracy of Surface Finish of Single Point Diamond Turned Materials" can be downloaded from our technical library section.

The Datasheet incorporates a useful table that shows typical surface finish values for IR materials and aerospace aluminium alloys. These values should be readily achievable using good quality diamond turning or diamond fly-cutting lathes for component manufacture.

This Datasheet should be read in conjunction with DM006 that discussed how these values can be reached.

New Distributor in France 8/8/06

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Optophase as P-OE’s new distributor in France. Founded by Dr Samuel Choblet and based in Lyon, central France, Optophase is ideally placed to service the needs of our French customers both old and new.

The company will be responsible for sales of our Interfire range of products throughout France. They have considerable expertise in the sales and support of optical equipment and we are confident our customers will benefit from their appointment. For more information, please look at the Optophase website.

Farewell and a Happy and Healthy Retirement to Mike Sanderson-Miller 31/7/06

We recently said farewell to Mike Sanderson-Miller, a face very familiar to many of our customers. Mike had worked with P-OE for over 13 years and his dedication and expertise drove the P-OE business forward. Customers reaped the benefits of his technical and application expertise. We’d like to thank him for the contribution he made to the company and wish him well in his retirement.

Defense and Security Success for P-OE 15/7/06

With over 6,000 delegates from around the world, the Defense and Security Symposium was a resounding success. With attendance up 15% on previous years, we were exhibiting with our US distributor, The Cooke Corporation and reaped the benefits. It was a very busy show and we met many old faces as well as picking up some exciting new prospects.

“Our Interfire II 3-5 interferometer certainly caused a stir when people saw the potential it has for improved, accurate optical testing of IR materials and lens systems.” explains Robin Addison.

Over the next few months we will be following up all the people we met at the Show and would like to take this opportunity to tank everyone who came to visit our stand.

Customer satisfaction levels rise again 8/5/06

P-OE is delighted to report an improved performance in its annual customer satisfaction survey outcomes in 2005 in comparison with the previous year. This is the ninth successive year that the independent Customer Satisfaction Survey has been carried out by a third party specialist research organisation. As in previous years, the survey was designed to assess:

  • Customer Communication and Contact
  • Product and Service Quality
  • Awareness of Products and Services
  • After Sales Service Levels

across four key areas for P-OE: production, infrared interferometers, single point diamond turning and design services.  Surveys were carried out with both existing and prospective clients in the UK, continental Europe, Africa, USA and the Far East.

Some areas such as after sales service and contact knowledge have reacted very favourably to P-OE initiatives instigated during 2005, both in the customer and non-customer groups.  There continues to be a very high regard also for product quality, which is a cornerstone of P-OE success.


German Distributor secures INTERFIRE II order 25/4/06

A lot of background work by German distributor, Honlet Optical Systems, GmbH, has paid dividends in the form of an order for an INTERFIRE II 10.6 from a major optical manufacturer. Honlet Optical Systems has been working hard over the past year to raise awareness for the full range of INTERFIRE II interferometers and has been rewarded with the success the company deserves!


P-OE at Defense & Security 2006 7/4/06

We will be showing the INTERFIRE II 3-5 and a range of diamond turned optical components at the Defense & Security Exhibition 18-20 April 2006 in Orlando, Florida USA. We can be found on Booth 130, hosted by our US distributor, The Cooke Corporation. The show supports the Defense & Security Symposium and is organised by SPIE (The International Society for Optical Engineering). The show claims to offer the largest collection of IR imaging equipment and associated technologies for the US defence industry and so is an ideal place to be showing the INTERFIRE II. More details can be found at

INTERFIRE in China 14/2/06

We recently installed an INTERFIRE 10.6 in a brand new testing laboratory in a Technical Institute in Heilongjiang Province, People’s Republic of China. This order and sustained interest from this part of the world was helped immensely by a set of technical seminars which had been conducted in China to show the extensive capabilities of the instrument.


Optical Systems Supplied To Lockheed Martin UK - 23/1/06

We are delighted to report that we have recently completed a contract awarded by the Simulation, Training & Support division of Lockheed Martin UK Ltd. The work involved the optical design of a range of simulator systems to be used in the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) facilities located in the UK and Germany. The CATT facilities employ a networked suite of simulators for armoured vehicles. We provided the optical designs for two vehicle types, each of which has a sight for the vehicle commander and another for the gunner. Each sight incorporates a high magnification channel and a unity magnification channel. The first sights have been installed in the CATT facility and provide excellent performance both optically and in terms of matching the ergonomic and structural features of the original vehicle sights.

Successful end to 2005 - 3/1/06

2005 has proved to be a good year for the company with the launch of the INTERFIRE II 1.55 infrared interferometer, a sustained order book for diamond machining and closer co-operation with our parent company,

The INTERFIRE II 1.55 has been very well received world-wide. It was designed to meet the needs for testing the increasing numbers of optical systems operating at this wavelength. By utilising a CCD camera with NIR conversion optics, it has been possible to design a new interferometer using glass lenses and mirrors rather than the III-V material lenses and mirrors that are normally used in IR interferometers.

We are also pleased to report good results for our diamond machining business during 2005, even in the face of increasing competition in the market-place.  Business Development Manager, Simon Pearson, said: “ Our reputation for quality and accurate delivery times are standing us in very good stead in this competitive environment, and helped us win a major order towards the end of the year.”

We have also reported an increased volume of work from our parent company, MBDA UK Ltd which has resulted in our commercial and development teams moving to new premises at MBDA’s headquarters in Stevenage, Herts, UK


Seasons’ Greetings - 19/12/05

As 2005 draws to a close we would like to extend Greetings of the Season to everyone who has visited this web site. We hope you have found it both useful and informative. We would also like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers and prospective customers a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2006.


Come and see us at Photonics West 2006 - 12/12/05

We will be showing the INTERFIRE II 3-5 infrared interferometer at the Photonics West show, to be held at the San Jose Convention Centre, California, USA, 24-26 January 2006. The instrument will be shown by our U.S distributor, The Cooke Corporation, on Booth 6036, South Hall. Designed for routine quality monitoring tests for optical components and systems, the INTERFIRE II 3-5 is part of a family of interferometers available with a choice of lasers operating at 10.6 micron wavelength, in the 3-5 micron wavelength range, 1.55 microns or 850 nanometres.

Success at Photonex - 5/12/05

The Photonex exhibition held in Coventry recently was “very satisfactory” according to P-OE Sales & Marketing Manager. Robin Addison. “Once again we met a range of people and made some very useful new contacts for our diamond machining business,” he continued. P-OE showed the INTERFIRE II 3-5 interferometer and a range of diamond machined components.

New technical datasheet - 18/11/05

Take a look at our latest Interferometry Technical Datasheet, “Wavefront Distortion Measurements - MTF vs Interferometry” in our technical library section. This compares and contrasts the use of dedicated MTF measurement systems and interferometers for testing optical components in the infra-red region of the spectrum.  A quality indicator for optical components is the Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) of the image. The two common methods of measuring MTF in optical components in systems are: Fourier transform of measured linespread function and interferometric measurements.

The datasheet covers experimental arrangements as well as trade-offs in measurement time vs accuracy. A practical example of the benefits of both techniques in the design of zoom optical telescopes is given.

Office co-locates to Stevenage - 11/11/05

Those of you who correspond regularly with us by e-mail may have noticed that e-mails from us now are delivered from “” addresses. This is because our commercial and development teams have recently moved to new premises at the headquarters of our parent company, MBDA UK Ltd, in Stevenage, Herts UK. With an increased volume of work from MBDA, it is more practical to be located on the same site. Our diamond turning and production faclities remain at our Hitchin site. Our original telephone numbers and “” e-mail addresses are still operational and are automatically rerouted to our new offices.

Latest issue of e-newsletter coming soon - 24/10/05

The latest issue of our e-newsletter will be sent out to our subscriber database during the first week of November 2005.  Contents will include: information on the technical specification for 50-250 IR objective lens, news on the 1.55 micron interferometer, how diamond turned surfaces are measured and our new brochures. If you’d like to be added to our subscriber list, please e-mail Mike Sanderson-Miller,, with ‘e-newsletter registration’ in the subject line, or fill in the form on this website.


INTERFIRE II On Show At Photonex05 - 16/9/05

We will be showing the INTERFIRE II 3-5 interferometer at the Photonex05 Exhibition, 5-6 October 2005, Stoneleigh Park, Coventry, UK. We will be sharing the Armstrong Optical Ltd stand (C26) and will also be showing an extensive range of lenses, mirrors and mould tools, featuring complex non-spherical surfaces on a range of optical materials and metal alloys, to illustrate our comprehensive diamond turning capabilities.

The INTERFIRE II 3-5 may be used in production, quality control or research applications. It features a focal plane array camera for high sensitivity with low noise. The high quality images of fringes produced, despite the comparatively low power of lasers in this waveband, brings particular benefits when using phase shifting fringe analysis software.


P-OE helps to unravel the mysteries of Saturn - 25/5/05

The spectacular success of the NASA Cassini-Huygens mission to explore Saturn, its rings and its moons has been due in no small part to the extraordinary performance and reliability of the 12 scientific instruments carried on-board. We are delighted to have supplied a selection of diamond machined germanium lenses for the spacecraft's Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS). The instrument has already delivered outstanding results, including the most detailed temperature measurements to date of Saturn's rings and, most recently, how daytime temperatures at low latitudes on the dark material on Saturn's moon Iapetus vary with time of day.

The lenses supplied by POE were part of a subsystem contributed by Oxford University and funded by the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council. The lenses were manufactured in 1994, in readiness for the spacecraft launch in 1997. P-OE's diamond machined optics had been used previously in space on board the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite.


Strong start to 2005 for diamond turning business - 16/5/2005

P-OE’s diamond turning business division has reported a strong start to 2005. Business Development Manager, Simon Pearson, said: “The business is showing a really solid performance. We have a good mix of orders from the UK and overseas for both reflective and refractive optics. We also have a good spread of order sizes, ranging from just a few hundred pounds up to tens of thousands.”


Latest Diamond Turning Technical Data sheet Available - 6/5/2005

DM005, entitled “Manufacture Of Moulds Using Single Point Diamond Turning Techniques”, is the latest addition to our series of technical data sheets. It is available as a downloadable PDF in the technical library section of this web site. The data sheet looks at some of the applications of diamond turning to the production of mould tools, together with some of the different materials the tools can be made from. Practical examples of tools manufactured using this technique are also given.


Come and see us at 'Defense & Security 2005'

We will be showing the INTERFIRE II at the Defense & Security Exhibition 29-31 March 2005 in Orlando, Florida USA. We can be found on Booth 723, hosted by our US distributor, The Cooke Corporation. The show supports the Defense & Security Symposium and is organised by SPIE (The International Society for Optical Engineering). The show claims to offer the largest collection of IR imaging equipment and so is an ideal place to be showing the INTERFIRE II. More details can be found at


Latest issue of e-newsletter about to be mailed- 11/3/2005

The latest issue of our e-newsletter is about to be mailed. This newsletter aims to keep subscribers up to date with all P-OE’s latest activities. Contents include information about the recent expansion of the diamond turning facility, a new infrared lens design, updates on the company's quality standards and the establishment of a link with the Photonics Application Centre in the UK.


New Diamond Turning Technical Datasheet Published - 4/3/2005

The latest of our technical datasheets on diamond turning is now available as a downloadable PDF in the technical library section of this web site. This latest publication, DM004, is entitled: “Material Contributions To Defects On Diamond Turned Surfaces”. It looks at the causes of microscopic and macroscopic defects in diamond turned surfaces as a function of the particular materials being machined. It is particularly useful to understand these contributions so that the most suitable material can be chosen for any particular component.

There are also 14 other technical datasheets in the Technical Library, covering not only diamond turning , but also optical systems engineering and infrared interferometry.


Season's Greetings - 21/12/2004

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of the visitors to our web site the compliments of the season and hope that 2005 is both peaceful and successful.


2004 bows out on a high note - 17/12/2004

What proved to be quite a difficult trading year is ending on a high note as both 3rd and 4th quarters brought substantial orders. The downside was that the ongoing conflict in the Middle East had the effect of reducing R&D budgets related to P-OE business. However on the positive side, new appointments made at P-OE during the course of the year have strengthened our sales efforts, and we have also enhanced our distribution network. The nett result has been good external orders for design and development work, and an increased number of orders for diamond machining. In fact we enter 2005 with excellent indicators on all of our business fronts. We look forward to 2005 being a highly successful year.


Exhibitions prove to be a success - 20/10/2004

We have just  been involved in two very different activities at some recent exhibitions. At the Photonex04 exhibition, recently held in Coventry, UK, we were sharing the Armstrong Optical stand and showing the INTERFIRE II interferometer. Sales and marketing manager, Robin Addison commented: “Visitor levels were similar to previous years and we saw a number of people who were genuinely interested in the equipment. It was also a good opportunity to meet many of our well-established contacts in the industry”. Our research & development manager, David Page, also made a presentation on interferometric techniques to an audience of around 20 people at the show. Robin and Mike Sanderson-Miller were involved in a rather different environment during the Africa Aerospace & Defence 2004 show in South Africa. They were invited to participate in a seminar organised by Eric Milburn from our South African distributor, ECM Technologies CC. P-OE was one of around 10 invited companies from the UK, USA and Europe to make presentations to an invited audience of around 150 people from the military, civil service, aerospace and other selected industries. Robin took the opportunity to highlight the company’s capabilities in the design, development and manufacture of optical and optomechanical components. Robin went on to say: “These type of seminars are excellent because they enable us to talk to an extremely well targeted audience. We were involved in something similar in the People’s Republic of China around 18 months ago, and that generated a good deal of follow-up interest. We hope the same will result from this seminar as well. We’d like to thank Eric for organising it”.


David Gray Can’t Keep Away! - 8/10/2004

We welcome David Gray back from our parent company, MBDA, as Commercial Officer. David was with us from 2001 until June 2002 on a six month placement, which he managed to extend to nine months, but unfortunately at the end of that period there were no permanent positions available with us so he returned to work in procurement at MBDA. However when the current position of Commercial Officer became available, David jumped at the chance to rejoin us. In his new role he will support the sales team by dealing with orders, quotes, dealing with sub-contractors and administering the enquiry system. It’s great to have him back!


Design team gets new lens specialist - 24/9/2004

Paul Gasson has has further strengthened our design team by joining as an optical design engineer. Paul has an impressive list of qualifications: a degree in physics from Surrey University and an M.Sc in optics from imperial College, London, backed up by several years practical industrial experience. This has included working for SEOS and a period working on adaptive optics at Marconi Optical Components.


New Business Development Manager for Diamond Turning Division - 13/09/2004

We‚re delighted to welcome Simon Pearson as Business Development Manager for Diamond Turning. Simon joins us from Thales and brings with him a wealth of experience in the international sales and marketing of optical components. Simon spent 17 years at Thales, most recently as Sales Manager for Optical Components and Boron Phosphide Coatings. Simon has had a solid grounding in the industry having also been involved in estimating and manufacturing roles. He said: „This is a superb opportunity for me. I feel I have joined a progressive company and can see a clear career path. In addition, I have known Robin (Addison) and Mike (Sanderson-Miller) for many years, which has made the transition very smoothš. We wish Simon every success in his new role.


P-OE Puts INTERFIRE II Interferometer Into Photonics Application Centre - 4/8/2004

We are delighted to announce that we are making an INTERFIRE II 3-5 infrared interferometer available for use in the prestigious Photonics Application Centre in Birmingham, UK. The Photonics Application Centre houses seven different laboratories set up by the Photonics Cluster (UK) to solve practical problems related to photonics. P-OE has recently joined the Photonics Cluster (UK) as members of the group based in the South of England at Stevenage. P-OE sales and marketing manager, Robin Addison, said: "We are excited about the prospect of having the new INTERFIRE II on show at Aston Science Park. Primarily it will provide a valuable practical tool for the staff at Aston to use in their partnerships with companies by allowing quality monitoring tests for optical components and systems to be performed in the 3-5 micron region of the spectrum. However, it will also give many companies the chance to see the capabilities of the equipment in a non-sales situation and as an added bonus we will have use of the superb facilities at Aston should we want to carry out some commercial demonstrations away from our headquarters in Hitchin.“

Chinese delegation visits P-OE HQ

Following the highly successful seminar held in Beijing in December 2003, we were delighted to welcome a delegation from China to our headquarters in Hitchin, UK. Two professors and four other technical staff from two different divisions of the Chinese Academy of Science in Shanghai brought some of their own infrared materials for testing on our new INTERFIRE II infrared interferometers. Sales and marketing manager, Robin Addison, said: “The visit was highly successful. We had already sold one instrument into mainland China, and as a result of this visit, we hope to be selling more. The general level of interest in the instruments in China is extremely high".


Lots of visitors at Photonics Europe

We were delighted to welcome many visitors to our stand at the Photonics Europe exhibition in Strasbourg, France 27-29th April. Organised by the SPIE, the exhibition was integrated with an international symposium, which featured presentations from leading companies, universities and research laboratories across Europe. This is one of Europe‚s major exhibitions in the field and we were showing the new INTERFIRE II interferometer, together with a selection of products designed and developed in house and manufactured using our diamond turning facility.


Register to receive technical data sheets by post.....

The series of technical data sheets that appear in our technical library section on this web site have proved very popular over the last year. We have decided to print up a selection of these as hard copy versions, which we are happy to mail out to anyone who is interested. Please contact Robin Addison ( with your postal address details and your particular interests and we’ll make sure that you’re added to the mailing list to receive them as they are printed.


...and check out the latest data sheets on our web site

We continue to add new titles to our technical library and two new technical datasheets have just been produced. IF006, “Good Practice In Interferometry” looks at some of the factors that should be considered when making interferometric measurements, while DM004, “Material Contributions To Defects On Diamond Turned Surfaces” considers some of the microscopic and macroscopic defects that can occur in diamond turned surfaces as a result of the substrate material used for the component. Take a look at them now - they are available as downloadable PDF files.


Customer survey shows positive results

We are delighted to announce that the results of our annual performance survey show a 10% improvement over our complete business activities. The survey, which is required as part of our ISO 9000 accreditation, is carried out by an independent body and includes both our customers and companies who have dealt with us but who have not become customers. Areas in which we have improved include: communication, response speed, delivery time, quotation time, quality and after sales service. We’ll be aiming to perform even better during 2004!




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