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  • Rubicon Receives $4.7M to Develop Sapphire Windows
Aug 2012
BENSENVILLE, Ill., Aug. 14, 2012 — Rubicon Technology's new Large-Area Net-shape Crystal Extraction (LANCE) project will develop large-area, optical-quality sapphire windows for military sensing applications. The three-year project is supported by a $4.7 million grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

Sapphire is used in military and other high-performance applications because of its hardness, strength, transparency in the visible and infrared spectrum, thermal conductivity, resistance to abrasion and thermal shock, high melting point and chemical inertness. These properties make it suitable for infrared windows in extreme environments where material durability is just as important as optical clarity.

Sapphire windows produced using current methods do not meet the demands of military applications because they are not thick enough.

“Producing high-quality sapphire large enough for such applications has proven difficult,” said Raja M. Parvez, Rubicon's president and CEO.

Rubicon Technology developed a growth platform to address this need by drawing on more than a decade of crystal growth technology experience. The company fabricated very large polished sapphire infrared windows, as large as 36 × 18 × 0.8 in., for many AFRL defense and industrial applications. Panels approximately 2 in. thick can be grown and cut into multiple windows of varying thickness.

Production will be scaled to meet the Air Force’s current and future requirements.

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