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18 May 2005 Hard transparent domes and windows from magnesium aluminate spinel
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Transparent magnesium aluminate spinel is an attractive material for use in a wide range of optical applications including windows, domes, armor, and lenses, which require excellent transmission from the visible through to the mid IR. Theoretical transmission is very uniform and approaches 87% between 0.3 to 5 microns. Transmission characteristics rival that of ALON and sapphire in the mid-wave IR, making it especially attractive for the everincreasing performance requirements of current and next-generation IR imaging systems. Future designs in missile technology will require materials that can meet stringent performance demands in both optical and RF wavelengths. Loss characteristics for spinel are being investigated to meet those demands. Technology Assessment and Transfer Inc. (TA&T), have established a 9000 ft2 production facility for optical quality spinel based on the traditional hot-pressing followed by hot isostatic pressing (HIPing) route. Additionally, TA&T is developing pressureless sintering - a highly scalable, near net shape processing method based on traditional ceramic processing technology - to fabricate optical components. These two main processing approaches allow the widest variety of applications to be addressed using a range of optical components and configurations. The polycrystalline nature of spinel facilitates near net shape processing, which provides the potential to fabricate physically larger optical parts or larger quantities of parts at significantly lower costs compared to single crystal materials such as sapphire. Current research is focused at optimizing the processing parameters for both synthesis routes to maximize strength and transparency while minimizing the cost of fabrication.
© (2005) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Anthony A. DiGiovanni, Larry Fehrenbacher, and Don W. Roy "Hard transparent domes and windows from magnesium aluminate spinel", Proc. SPIE 5786, Window and Dome Technologies and Materials IX, (18 May 2005);


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