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Dark Mirror Coatings

Deposition Sciences Inc. (DSI)Request Info
Dark Mirror CoatingsDark mirror coatings absorb incident light, rather than reflecting or transmitting it. Thus, they simultaneously exhibit both the low transmittance of a metal blocking filter and the low reflectance of an antireflection coating. Dark mirrors are typically used to define the aperture of an optical system where control of stray light or elimination of crosstalk is critical.

DSI dark mirrors are distinguished by their broadband spectral performance and exceptional environmental durability (they pass the definitive MIL-STD environmental tests for adhesion, humidity and moderate abrasion). They can be designed for use anywhere from the visible through the longwave infrared spectral regions. In addition, DSI’s photolithography capability enables the production of dark mirrors in precise patterns ranging from circular to very complex geometries. Specifically, these can have feature sizes as small as 50µm, with ±5µm placement accuracy.

A dark mirror is essentially an antireflection (AR) coating placed on top of a metal coating. The AR coating efficiently couples light into the metal layer(s), which then absorbs it. However, the AR coating can be deposited on the top (external surface) of the metal layer(s), beneath it (between the metal and the substrate) or on both sides.

Placing the AR coating on the front surface of the optic (external dark mirror) makes the component appear dark when viewed from outside the optical system. This is desirable when the function of the optic is to reduce or eliminate light returned from external sources. Placing the dark mirror on the internal surface (internal dark mirror) reduces stray light within the system. This is primarily employed to eliminate crosstalk and improve system signal-to-noise ratio. A dark mirror with AR coatings on both sides (bidirectional) provides both these functionalities.


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