Optical coatings affect the properties of electromagnetic energy. Since ancient times, man has tried to decipher the nature of light and to harness its power. Man’s fascination with light sparked the curiosity of many scientists, who over the years have added to our understanding of light and other forms of electromagnetic energy. The foundation laid by Young, Huygen, Fresnel, Poisson, Fraunhofer, Maxwell, Fabry, Perot and others was critical for the eventual development of optical coatings. However, advances in technology were necessary for the production of optical coatings. Modern thin film optical coatings were not produced until the 1930’s, with the development of adequate vacuum technology. Since that time, great strides in vacuum and deposition technology have increased the level of sophistication of optical coatings. Today, optical coatings are used at the component level in almost every branch of technology.
Optical coatings primarily control the transmittance and reflectance of electromagnetic energy. Due to its wave properties, electromagnetic energy exhibits interference effects. Waves that are in phase constructively interfere, whereas waves that are 180 degrees out of phase destructively interfere. Optical coatings are constructed of one to hundreds of thin layers. Varying the material and thickness of each layer determines the amplitude and phase of the transmitted and reflected light at each interface. By creating regions of constructive and destructive interference, one can tailor the transmittance and reflectance of the optical coating as a function of wavelength
To make the purchase and care of your optical components and thin films easier, we have created and compiled some information that you may find useful. However, NTFL application engineers are always available to assist you in determining which optical coating product best suits your needs. Contact us to receive more information..