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THE HISTORY
HOW ANTI-REFLECTIVE GLASS WAS MADE

Lord Rayleigh, in 1886, discovered that tarnished glass was more transparent than fresh glass. The oxidization tarnish replaces the air to glass interface and has a refractive index between air and glass.  Crown glass has a refractive index of 1.52 and air is 1.00.  The optimal index is 1.23 but no materials achieve this mid-point.   A good material has been Magnesium Fluoride with 1.38 and fluoropolymers at as low as 1.30.   Some nano-particles can achieve 1.12  Using alternating layers of low index materials like silica and higher index materials, it is possible to achieve reflections as low as 0.1% in a single wavelength.  Optical coatings that give a low index over a broad band of visible light (400nm to 800nm) are complex and expensive to make.  This is exactly what we specialize in making for you. 

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THE PROCESS
HOW DOES IT BECOME ANTI-REFLECTIVE?

The first optical coatings were done in small batch spherical coaters.  They would pump down the air pressure to a high vacuum and then vaporize the target materials being deposited on the glass surface of the substrate inside the coating chamber.  This is a cumbersome process and limits the throughput of production to hand loading and unloading of the chamber and the multiple coating cycles needed to achieve a good multi-layer coating.  It limits the size of the pieces coated by the layout in the chamber. A secondary method was developed to automate an in-line coater spanning several hundred feet long made up of successive coating chambers and airlock chambers to send larger flat piece through in a straight multi-chamber production line.  The third level of sophistication is the in-line coater that combines multiple spinning targets on tubes that would lay down the coatings in a single chamber thus shortening the equipment length and layout.  It is the most cost-effective way to achieve higher output.  It is this latest method that we use for our coatings.

 

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