Infrared-transmitting optics used in imaging systems have high refractive indices (n=1.4 to n > 3) that require antireflective (AR) coatings. These coatings have limitations in that they can delaminate in operational environments, which is a problem particularly for broadband coatings that consist of multiple layers of dissimilar materials. In addition, residual reflections within an imaging system can cause ghost reflections, degrading performance. Recently, new methods have been developed for fabrication of anti-reflective surface structures (ARSS) on optics that significantly reduce reflection losses at the surface. The ARSS approach provides a more robust solution by using surface structures built directly into the actual surface of the optics, without the need for a coating with extraneous materials. We present recent results that demonstrate superior ARSS performance on a variety of optics for use in the infrared spectral region. These materials have been successfully patterned with ARSS using reactive ion etching (RIE) or using photolithography and etching. We report on reflection losses as low as 0.02% for fused silica at 1.06 microns, and have also demonstrated low reflection losses for ARSS on germanium, spinel ceramic, and sapphire, all of which are important for mid- to long-wave infrared imaging applications.
Lynda E. Busse, Jesse A. Frantz, L. Brandon Shaw, Shyam Bayya, Guillermo Villalobos, Ishwar D. Aggarwal, and Jas S. Sanghera, "Antireflective surface structures on infrared optics (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10181, Advanced Optics for Defense Applications: UV through LWIR II, 101810I (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 10, 2017; Published: 7 June 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262893.5458106170001.
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