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Optical Coatings: Improving Traditional Technology

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The challenges of producing dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) filters for telecommunications has revolutionized the optical coating industry. This has resulted in coatings that display precision and stability orders of magnitude better than earlier offerings.

Arthur T. Howe, CHROMATEL; Mervyn Davis, Nordiko Technical Services Ltd.; and David Pearson, Pearsonics Ltd.

The common polycrystalline materials used for optical thin-film materials do not satisfy the requirements of telecommunications because of the instabilities caused by moisture absorption in their voids. Scatter from the grain boundaries in polycrystalline films also precludes their use in DWDM filters. The typical scatter losses of a few tenths of a percent in the near-IR are magnified by the large number of layers (100 to 200) needed for filters, and would produce unacceptable transmission losses. To meet the challenge, industry has turned to dense, amorphous materials. Amorphous Ta2O5...Read full article

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