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Mirrors: Coating Choice Makes a Difference

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A mirror is an important element in many optical systems. Its basic function is to redirect light, often with the purpose of making an optical system more compact. This article discusses the kinds of thin-film coatings that can be used for mirrors. The choice of coating depends on the application, including the spectral range of interest, the optical wavefront quality desired and the cost limitations.

JDSU

The basic difference between the household mirror and the optical mirror is that one is coated on the back surface and the other is coated on the front. For optical applications, a front-surface mirror must be used. This means that the reflective surface is subject to environmental degradation, even though it is usually in an enclosed environment and not exposed to the harsh conditions of the household mirror. An important part of mirror technology is providing a durable front-surface mirror that is stable and can be cleaned. A mirror’s substrate surface should be flat and smooth....Read full article

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