Optical coatings are more and more used for different optical solutions. Coatings can enhance the optical function or prevent the optic from environmental damage. Several optical coatings are available on the market and have all another function. In this blog post we will dive into the world of optical coatings.Optical coatings use one or more thin layers of a material which is deposited on the lens. These thin film layers create interference effects to enhance for example the reflection or the transmission properties of your optical system. Key factors that have to be taken into account are the layer thickness, the number of layers, the refractive index difference of the material. One of the most commonly used and simplest coatings are metal coatings with for example aluminium. By exact control of the thickness of the metal coatings, you can decrease the reflectivity and increase the transmission of the surface. This can be helpful to enhance the optical systems performance even more. If you combine 3D printing with optical coatings you can create a fully customized optical product.
Types of optical coatings
Reflective optical coatings
There are different kinds of optical coatings. A coating we are all familiar with is a reflective optical coating. These type of coatings are for example used in mirrors. A highly reflective layer is deposited on the product. One of the best and most reflective materials of the spectrum is gold.
Anti-reflective optical coating
Besides reflective optical coatings, anti-reflective optical coatings are also available for your optical product. It is key that anti-reflective coatings maximizes the light that enters an optic. Imagine that you walk by a window, you can see your own reflection, this means that not all the light passes through the window. If you relate that to lenses or optics maximizing the transmission of light can be achieved by an optical coating.
Optical coating methods
Optical coatings are applied using different coating methods. The most commonly used coating methods are vacuum deposition and sputter coating. Both methods make use of a holding device and coat the products in a chamber. The deposition of coating material differs according to the selected method of coating.
We value your opinion and we would like to know if you would be interested in coatings on your 3D printed optical product? If you want to 3D print your optic feel free to discuss the possibilities with us. We do not provide coatings ourselves but we know expert companies which can help you out.