Schott has entered into a joint-development partnership (JDP) with 3D-Micromac, a manufacturer of laser micromachining and roll-to-roll laser systems.

The JDP will improve the processing performance of Schott RealView high refractive index glass wafers, which are used in manufacturing waveguides for next-generation augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) headsets.

The partnership will focus on developing a laser micromachining tool that can achieve a throughput of nearly 600 AR eyepieces per hour.

This equates to approximately five million AR eyepieces annually in 24/7 production.

The JPD will also target the development of a dedicated laser cutting process for the high refractive index wafers, which will increase the glass edge strength for improved production yields.

While the laser micromachining process and system will be optimised for Schott RealView, 3D-Micromac will ensure its compatibility with other materials and sell the system to end customers for any glass product.

Matthias Jotz, Head of Product Management for Augmented Reality at Schott, said: “High refractive index glass is a key component for achieving optimum field of view and first-class image quality for AR headsets, providing the ultimate user experience.

"To scale up manufacturing on our patented Schott RealView high refractive index glass products, it is critical that we partner with the right equipment suppliers that can support our manufacturing goals with enabling process solutions.

"Schott has worked with 3D-Micromac over many years, and their expertise in laser micromachining make them an ideal partner for developing a dedicated laser cutting technology for our augmented reality products.”