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This chapter will be devoted primarily to discussing a variety of materials that are used in the design and manufacture of optical components. The most common of these is optical glass, in its many forms. Other materials, such as plastic and fused silica, are sometimes substituted for optical glass in order to take advantage of their special characteristics. Optical coatings are added to components to enhance their optical performance. Antireflection coatings will improve the light transmission of a lens. Single- and multiple-layer antireflection coatings will be covered. Materials for use in infrared systems are unusual in several respects. The basic characteristics of the most commonly used IR materials will also be presented.
All these topics will be covered in an introductory fashion, with the intent to provide the reader with a level of knowledge that will permit you, as the optical designer, to generate basic specifications and discuss requirements with specialists in these fields.
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