What Are Optical Windows?

27Feb, 2018

There are many types of optical components/lenses. An optical window is a piece of transparent (not necessarily visually transparent) optical material, usually designed to allow certain wavelengths of light to pass through, and into a piece of optical equipment. Normally, a window would be parallel and coated with some sort of anti-reflective coating, certainly if it was designed to use within the visible light spectrum. There are also optical windows that are designed to only operate outside the range of visible light, such as in the infrared and ultralight spectrum.

Optical Windows are Often Used as Protective Barriers in Sensitive Electronic Detectors & Sensors

Optical windows are used in equipment for the aerospace industries, military, industrial, manufacturing, medical, and research fields, along with other types of optical components. Optical windows are often used as protective barriers in sensitive electronic detectors and sensors. These types of optical windows do not use any magnification, as a rule, and can be made of many substrates, such as Silicon, Potassium Bromide, and Germanium. They can be made to filter out, or enhance light outside the range of human vision, into the infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths. Optical windows can also be used to control the amount of illumination by diffusing the light as it passes through the window, and can be designed to diffuse all or only certain wavelengths of light. One of the most common types of optical windows is UV (ultraviolet) diffuser. Excessive amounts of UV light can cause damage to some materials.

Many optical windows are designed for use in tactical military aircraft, such as in targeting and navigation systems. These usually operate from the visible spectrum into the mid-infrared areas. Optical windows are also used in LASERS, to only allow certain colors of the emitted light to pass through. Optical windows are used extensively in the medical field, both for treatment and for imaging. More and more, LASER surgery is becoming the treatment of choice for delicate medical procedures. Brain tumors are removed by computer-controlled LASERs, in delicate areas that would’ve been unthinkable to even attempt just 10 years ago. People who would’ve been consigned to living the rest of their lives in blindness just a few years ago can now have their vision restored, thanks to delicate surgery performed with the help of optical windows. In astronomy, optical windows have expanded our knowledge of objects in the distant reaches of the universe, and through satellite imaging, we have learned much more about how our planet reacts to things like meteorological disturbances, geological events, pollution, and even made our world safer through satellite reconnaissance. Optical windows have revolutionized the way we manufacture things, allowing much greater precision, and detail to be exercised when fabricating products.
The old Chinese proverb really is true… we live in interesting times…

Select your coatings

All-optical components may be coated ‎according to function and ‎requirements. Reflective or ‎anti-reflective coatings, with high power ‎damage threshold for laser industries, ‎are available.

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