ALON<sup>TM</sup> Optical Ceramic is a durable window material for UV, Visible and Mid IR window and dome applications. The mechanical, thermal, and optical properties of ALON products produced commercially by Surmet Corporation have been measured and this new data will be presented. Comparisons to previously measured data will be made.
Optical quality, low scatter ALON having high strength that is nearly double previously reported has been made. Average strength values of 700 MPa at 21°C and 631 MPa at 500°C have been measured for ALON specimens prepared by precision surface finishing techniques. Polished optical domes tested have survived severe thermal shock tests. These strength levels are comparable to those for single crystal sapphire. Strength, thermal conductivity, thermal expansion, refractive index, emissivity and absorption coefficient will be presented. The possible mechanisms for the increased strength will be discussed.
Aluminum Oxynitride (ALON<sup>TM</sup> Optical Ceramic) is a transparent ceramic material which combines transparency from the UV to the MWIR with excellent mechanical properties. ALON’s optical and mechanical properties are isotropic by virtue of its cubic crystalline structure. Consequently, ALON is transparent in its polycrystalline form and can be made by conventional powder processing techniques. This combination of properties and manufacturability make ALON suitable for a range of applications from IR windows, domes and lenses to transparent armor.
The technology for producing transparent ALON was developed at Raytheon and has been transferred to Surmet Corporation where it is currently in production. Surmet is currently selling ALON into a number of military (e.g., windows and domes) and commercial (e.g., supermarket scanner windows) applications.
The capability to manufacture large ALON windows for both sensor window and armor applications is in place. ALON windows up to 20x30 inches have been fabricated. In addition, the capability to shape and polish these large and curved windows is being developed and demonstrated at Surmet. Complex shapes, both hyper-hemispherical and conformal, are also under development and will be described.