Photonics Dictionary

antireflection coating

An antireflection coating (AR coating) is a thin film or coating applied to optical surfaces, such as lenses or windows, to minimize unwanted reflections and increase the transmission of light through the surface. These coatings are designed to reduce both specular (mirror-like) and diffuse (scattered) reflections, thereby improving the efficiency and performance of optical systems.

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The primary function of an AR coating is to reduce the amount of light that is reflected at the interface between two optical media with different refractive indices, such as air and glass. By applying a carefully designed multilayer coating with varying refractive indices, the coating can be engineered to produce destructive interference for specific wavelengths of light, effectively canceling out reflections. This interference phenomenon allows the coated surface to appear colorless or to have minimal reflection over a broad range of wavelengths.

Antireflection coatings are commonly used in various optical applications, including camera lenses, eyeglasses, microscopes, telescopes, solar panels, and laser systems. They help improve image contrast, increase light transmission, and enhance the overall performance of optical devices by minimizing losses due to reflections. See also multilayer coating.
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