Optical Measurements On Advanced Performance Domes

12 Aug.,2022


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Paper Abstract

Sapphire, spinel, and ALON (aluminum oxynitride) have been identified as candidate dome materials for ultraviolet through 5 μm wavelength applications. They possess optical, mechanical, and thermal properties that are superior to those of currently used Irtran-1 domes. Optical performance of these materials in the visible wavelength region far exceeds that of Irtran-1, while infrared properties reported here vary from worse than to better than Irtran-1 domes. Reported in this paper are measurements of optical scatter and transmittance at 0.4762, 0.6471, and 3.39 μm, which represent a large range of values obtained on these materials in dome form. Processing changes over the last few years have produced improvements in both scatter and transmittance, provided that a good surface finish is maintained. Higher index of refraction will, of course, limit the ultimate transmittance for uncoated domes of these materials to slightly less than that of Irtran-1, which has also improved in the same time period. Calculations indicate maximum transmittance at 3.39 pm to be 0.95 to 0.96 for Irtran-1 and 0.87 to 0.88 for spinel, a difference of 0.08. Current measurements at the Naval Weapons Center confirm values of 0.88 for spinel, while the best Irtran-1 dome gave a value of less than 0.92.