If you’re interested in optical technology, you may have heard about optical coatings and their various benefits. You may have heard of thin-film optical coatings, Ion beam sputtering, and magnesium fluoride. Perhaps you have heard about PM fibers. If you haven’t, it’s time to learn more about these materials.
Ion Beam Sputtering
The Ion Beam Sputtering process is highly effective for producing thin optical films. This method produces high-quality films with excellent density and uniformity. These films are also highly resistant to environmental degradation and mechanical wear. In addition, the film thickness is controlled to within 0.1 nm. These advantages make Ion Beam Sputtering a highly desirable process for custom optical coatings.
Ion Beam Sputtering is a form of Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD), which involves extracting molecules from the target material using a highly focused and precisely controlled ion beam. In this process, multiple layers of different materials are stacked, and each layer’s thickness is precisely controlled. This allows for precise control over the size distribution of the final product.
Thin-Film Optical Coatings
Thin films are made from thin layers of vaporized material. They are typically optically uniaxial films. These films exhibit low critical phase transition temperatures. This allows them to exhibit a range of optical properties. For instance, they can reduce polarization and increase luminous transmittance. These properties are important in smart window applications.
Optical coatings containing magnesium fluoride improve optical components’ performance. These thin films can be deposited on optical elements, such as lenses, prisms, windows, and mirrors. In addition, they help reduce the refraction of incident light. This makes them ideal for anti-reflection coatings.
Powdered magnesium fluoride is a naturally deposited material with many pores. The powder also contains large amounts of crystal water. This combines with the magnesium fluoride to create a disproportionation reaction. When magnesium fluoride reacts with water, it releases hydrogen fluoride gas. This disproportionation reaction can lower the vacuum degree and cause splashes.
PM fibers are used in devices in which the polarization cannot drift. Such applications include fiber interferometers and certain types of fiber lasers. However, these fibers have higher propagation loss than standard fibers. In addition, not all fibers are available in PM form.
Polyimide coatings are effective at protecting PM fibers against external influences. These high-performance materials are chemically bonded to the surface of the fiber. The resulting 10-um thick layer provides effective protection against external influences. In comparison, a conventional acrylate coating would have to be four times thicker to achieve the same level of protection. Polyimide coatings also save space, making them suitable for smart skin applications.
Solar Power Collectors
Optical coatings are a significant part of solar power collectors. They are important for their optical properties, thermal stability, and low cost. In addition, they can be easily produced at large scales.
Optical coatings can improve the efficiency of solar power collectors by reducing dust accumulation. These coatings are either “active” or “passive.” Functional coatings can prevent dust accumulation by creating a low-cost solution. However, active and passive coatings must resist abrasion, temperature, humidity, and UV rays.
Advanced optical coatings in automotive glazing offer many benefits to vehicle owners. These coatings can help to reduce energy costs and improve performance. One of the main benefits is the reduction of weight. Many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) face increased fuel economy and emission requirements and seek ways to reduce vehicle weight. The application of polycarbonate and LEXAN resin solutions can reduce vehicle window weight by as much as 50%.
Optical coatings have a wide variety of applications in architecture and vehicles. These materials have been developed in other fields and adopted by the automotive industry. Optical coatings in window glazing are different from those used in other applications.