Optical coating materials

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An optical coating is the application of one (or several) metallic (or dielectric), films to an optical part’s surface. A coating applied to the optical part’s surface is used to increase or decrease the intensity of the reflection, beam, color, and polarization. The two most commonly used methods for coating optical parts are vacuum coating, and electronicless coating.

Principle of optocoating:

Vacuum coating:

Vacuum coating refers to coatings that must be done in higher vacuums, such as vacuum ion, magnetron, magnetron, molecular beam epitaxy and PLD laser-sputtering. A substrate is formed from the plated materials and electroplated material. The target and substrate are in the same vacuum.

The evaporation coating is usually the target of heating so that the surface components evaporate in the form of free radicals or ions and are deposited on the surface of the substrate by film-forming method (scattering island structure-trapezoidal structure-layered growth).

Sputtered coat

You can easily understand the process of forming a sputtered coat by the fact that electrons or high energy lasers bombard the target material and surface components are released as free radicals.

An optical film has a smooth top, a geometrically-segmented interface between layers, and a refractive Index that can jump at interface. But, it’s continuous within the film. This film could be transparent or opaque.

The absorption medium can be either uniformly normal or not. Practical application of the film can be more difficult than an ideal one. Because of its optical and physical characteristics, it is different from bulk material. Its surface and interface are also rough which causes diffuse scattering. Due to mutual penetration, the film forms a diffusion interfacing, which results in anisotropy.

Common optical coating materials include the following:

1. Metal (alloy): germanium, chromium, aluminum, silver, gold, etc.


This rare metal is safe and non-radioactive. It has a light transmission range of 2000NM to 14000NM.


Sometimes found in spectroscopes, and often used as a “colloid” layer to enhance adhesion. It may range from 550NM to 30NM. But, under the guidance of aluminum mirror, 30NM can be an effective value for adhesion.


It is the most reflective metal in the ultraviolet area. Effective thickness of the film exceeds 50NM.


When the evaporation rate and substrate temperature are fast enough, silver will have the same high reflectivity of aluminum. This is because there is more absorption due to the massive accumulation that occurs at very low speed.


Material with highest reflectivity of all known materials is above infrared 100nm wavelength

2. Oxides.

Yttrium trioxide.

By electron gun evaporation the property of the material changes with film thickness. The refractive index, which is approximately 1., can be used. 8 % at 500nm. It’s very well-known as an aluminum protective coating, in particular due to its high incident angle at 800-12000nm.

Cerium dioxide.

High-density tungsten boat evaporates cerium dioxide on a substrate of 200°C to get a refractive Index of about 2.2. The absorption band is located at about 3000nm, and its refractive indice changes with temperature. Oxygen ion plating can produce nylon 2.35 (500nm), which is a low-absorptive thin film.


The refractive Index is defined as the light transmission range between 2.21500 and 3.15500 nm. People love this material because of its high refractive and relative firmness. It is used for anti-reflection films, splitter film cold light film filter, filter, high reflect film, glasses film and thermal mirror.

Silicon dioxide.

It is a transparent colorless crystal with a high melting point and hardness. This gives it good chemical stability. Use it for high-quality Si02 coatings. It has a very pure crystal with no melting point. You can divide it into infrared, visible and ultraviolet depending on your use. A film with excessive pressure can cause pores or become fragile. Conversely, a film with too little pressure will absorb more light and its refractive Index will increase.

Zirconium dioxide.

High refractive index, high resistance to temperature and chemical stability make the white heavy crystal very pure. You can use it for high quality zirconia coatings. Because of its roughness, the incident light will be diffused and the transmittance of your lens is reduced. Additionally, optical rotation will cause certain incident light sources to dissipate particularly strongly. One example is that a material which absorbs red light appears green. But, poor processing can still be avoided.

Hafnium oxide.

If the substrate is heated to 150C by an electron gun, its refractiveindex is approximately 2.0C. Oxygen ion assisted plating can achieve a stable refractiveindex of 2.5-2.1. In the region of 8000-12000NM, HFO2 works better than SiO2 for the protective outer layer.

3. Fluoride.

Magnesium fluoride.

This antireflective coating has a 1×4 wave thickness and is used widely as an optical glass. It transmits about 120NM true ultraviolet radiation to the mid-infrared region at about 7000nm.

Calcium fluoride or barium fluoride.

The only problem with their compactness is that they are not completely solid. They can be used only in infrared films because transmittance shifts to shorter wavelengths at higher temperatures.

Lead fluoride.

This material can also be used in UV. If it’s used in 300nm it will have a lower refractive value when it comes into direct contact with tantalum or molybdenum. Therefore, platinum and ceramic dishes are required.

4. Additional compounds

Zinc sulfide.

Light transmission ranges with refractive indices of 2.35400-13000m have good durability and stress. Most commonly used for decorative, spectroscopic and cold light films.

Lead Telluride.

It’s an IR material of high refractive. Because it’s a thin-film material, transparency is possible in between 300 and 4000NM. The material can be sublimated in the infrared. Substrat temperature is 250C. Prevention is essential. The maximum range of 40000NM is sufficient to make it work. Many other materials can be used to create a 14000NM edge.

Silicon dioxide Price

Price is affected by many things, such as the demand and supply in the market and industry trends. Economic activity and market sentiment are also important.

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