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Capabilities - Coating

Coating

We have been developing and improving our coating expertise for over 50 years, which has led us to be the leading experts in optical coatings from UV to longwave IR using advanced technologies from low energy e-beam evaporation to dense and amorphous ion beam sputtered coatings. Our coating engineers and technicians create repeatable, precision processes for off-the-shelf quality optics to spectrally complex custom optics to meet and exceed project performance, quality, budget, and on-time delivery.

Our coating capabilities are one of the key aspects that make us world leaders in custom optical components and assemblies.

Key Differentiating Capabilities:

  • High Laser Damage Threshold: We are the world class leaders in creating optical coatings with high laser damage thresholds. Our IBS and APS coatings and precision fabrication technologies combined results in industry leading LDT performance under a variety of laser fluence circumstances.
  • Superior Surface Quality: Controlling the purity of coating materials and cleanliness of substrates before, during, and after the coating process allows for the creation of surfaces that are nearly defect-free. We utilize consistent processes and have Class 100 and 1000 cleanrooms to ensure the absolute minimal contamination from airborne and molecular contaminants.
  • Environmental Robust: Our durable, optical coatings can withstand extreme environmental conditions from humidity, salt spray, to temperature extremes and fluctuations. Adhesion and durability testing are performed per MIL-C-48497a.
  • Electrically Conductive Coatings and Bus-Barring: This coating option is available to enhance the performance of heated window assemblies for demisting and de-icing -- a critical requirement in the defense and aerospace industry.
  • Mask Coating Technology: We have developed advanced masking techniques for precision placement of coatings.
  • Deep UV Coatings: Our semiconductor customers depend on us for our high-performance deep UV coatings for polarizers, waveplates, and beamsplitter cubes. We have superior coating durability and long lifetimes.
  • Low Absorption Coatings: Our low absorption coatings are key to operations performed in a vacuum to avoid thermal build up and eliminate laser and equipment damage.
  • Process Efficiency: Our coating processes are precise, repeatable, and efficient for cost control, production automation, consistent high-quality results, and contamination control.
  • High Test Standards: We test to the following criteria and performance specifications: MIL-F-48616 / MIL-C-675C / MIL-STD-810G / ISO-92114 & ISO9022-2/12.

We are experts at each of these 4 different coating technologies. Depending on the optical design specification, we determine the best process for your specific application.

Ion-Beam Sputtering (IBS)

Ion-Beam Sputtering (IBS) process results in very high dense, durable, and laser damage threshold thin films. This process is an excellent solution when extreme performance is the only answer.  We utilize proprietary in-situ process controls that allow the deposition of complex thin film structures with very high precision. By monitoring the deposited films directly on substrates and the use of end-to-end automation, we can deposit films in excess of 200 layers with repeatable nm-level accuracy of each layer. Increased spectral control allows us to create solutions with sharper features, higher contrast, more repeatable performance, and tighter tolerances. See comparison chart below for more details. 

Advanced Plasma Sputtering (APS)

Advanced Plasma Sputtering (APS) process is an alternative solution to IBS when cost and time are some of the deciding factors in your application.  APS still results in dense, durable, and high laser damage threshold coatings but has the advantage over IBS in processing coatings faster and in higher volumes. This process is more dense and environmentally stable then E-beam with its reduced porosity.  The APS coating chamber has an Optical Monitoring System so that adjustments can be made in real time, improving coating layer thickness accuracy which allows for tighter control of specifications. See comparison chart below for more details.  

E-Beam Ion-Assisted Deposition

Our E-beam process is great for a wide variety of lower absorption coatings, visible, IR, and some deep UV coating applications at high volume and low cost with its fast deposition times. This process allows for a variety of applications, shapes, sizes, and even preformed optics such as prisms. E-beam coatings are porous and less susceptible to after coating surface accuracy performance changes. These coatings are ideal for coatings in the UV range because there is minimal scattering. See comparison chart below for more details.


 

Thermal Electron Beam Evaporation (EBE)

This coating process is great for deep UV coatings resulting in less defects and clear coating depositions. These are soft coatings and therefore are susceptible to temperature and humidity changes. We use this coating technology for metallic optics and filters. See comparison chart below for more details.  

Coating Technologies Comparison Chart
 

  Thermal EBE E-Beam IAD APS IBS
Density Low Med-High High Very High
Durability Good Very Good Very High Very High
Smoothness Good Good Very Good Very Good
Wavelength Range 157nm - 2100 nm 190nm - ~ 20microns 250nm - ~ 20microns 266nm - 3500nm
Substrate Materials All Glass All Glass All Glass All Glass
Coating Materials Fluoride Fluoride, Oxide, Sulphides, Semiconductors (Ge & Si) Fluoride, Oxide, Sulphides, Semiconductors (Ge & Si) Oxide
Production Time Short Short-Med Short-Med Long
Price $ $$ $$$ $$$$
Repeatability Med Good High Highest
Environment Sensitivity Not Very Stable Stable Very Stable Very Stable

CVI Metallic Coatings
 

Coating Design Wavelength Range Reflectivity
Vacuum UV Aluminum (VUVA) 145 - 195 nm R>85% at 157 nm by design
Deep UV Aluminum (DUVA) 185 - 1200 nm
designed for 185-250 nm
R>90% at 193 nm
Ravg>85% 400 - 1200 nm
Enhanced Alunimum (EAV) 450 - 650 nm R≥92% at 450 - 650 nm
Protected Silver 400 nm – 20 um Ravg≥95% at 400 nm – 20 um
Protected Gold 650 nm – 20 um Ravg≥95.5% at 650 - 1700nm
Ravg≥98% 2 - 20 um