Optical Coatings for Metal Mirrors in Optical Applications

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In summary, the conversation discussed the use of optical coatings for metal mirrors to prevent oxidation and maintain reflectance. A6061 is typically used for mirrors and produces a natural oxide coating when exposed to air. The question of whether reflectance is improved with coatings was also raised, but it was determined that the difference is negligible due to the thinness of the coating.
  • #1
rppearso
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Does anyone know what kind of optical coatings are used for metal mirrors in optical applications to prevent the surface from oxidizing and that also does not degrade the reflectance of the aluminum itself?

I am guessing the aluminum would have to be cut to shape then placed in a vacuum to repolish the surface and apply the coating. What is used to "polish" the oxide coating off the aluminum without messing up the surface and the shape while it is under vacuum?
 
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  • #2
A6061 is typically used for mirrors. It is ok without coatings because it produce naturally very thin and transparent oxide coating just on contact with air.
 
  • #3
trurle said:
A6061 is typically used for mirrors. It is ok without coatings because it produce naturally very thin and transparent oxide coating just on contact with air.

Is reflectance better if it is coated though or is the difference negligible?
 
  • #4
rppearso said:
Is reflectance better if it is coated though or is the difference negligible?
negligible, as typical for very thin coatings.
 

Related to Optical Coatings for Metal Mirrors in Optical Applications

1. What are optical coatings for metal mirrors?

Optical coatings for metal mirrors are thin layers of material applied to the surface of a metal mirror to alter its reflective properties. These coatings can enhance the mirror's reflectivity, increase its durability, and reduce unwanted reflections or distortions.

2. How are optical coatings applied to metal mirrors?

Optical coatings are typically applied using a process called physical vapor deposition (PVD). This involves heating the coating material until it vaporizes and then depositing it onto the mirror's surface. Other methods such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and electroplating may also be used.

3. What are the benefits of using optical coatings on metal mirrors?

The use of optical coatings on metal mirrors can greatly improve their performance in optical applications. These coatings can increase the mirror's reflectivity, reduce glare and unwanted reflections, and enhance its durability and resistance to scratches and corrosion.

4. What types of materials are used for optical coatings on metal mirrors?

Common materials used for optical coatings on metal mirrors include metals such as aluminum, silver, and gold, as well as dielectric materials like silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide. The specific material used will depend on the desired optical properties and application of the mirror.

5. What are some common applications for metal mirrors with optical coatings?

Metal mirrors with optical coatings are widely used in various optical applications, including laser systems, microscopy, telescopes, and optical communications. They are also commonly used in consumer products such as cameras, telescopes, and mirrors for household use.

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