The story of germanium's development as an infrared dome and window material exemplifies the manner
in which the complementary efforts of industry, academia and government can work together to solve
scientific and technical challenges. Germanium is one of a few materials which have been used for infrared
transparent windows in both the long-wave 8-12 micron region, as well as the mid-wave 3-5 micron region.
Due to its legacy as one of the first commercial semiconductors, germanium became available in high
purity as a bulk commodity. This paper will examine the history of how germanium came to be used as an
infrared window and what enabling technologies have supported its use.