Optical Coatings Group

  • Layer design for high-performance applications

  • Coating and functional evaluation

  • High-precision determination of optical losses

  • Laser radiation resistance of optical components for aerospace applications

  • Layer defectanalysis down to the nm-range

We specialize in the manufacture, testing, and qualification of thin-film systems and optics for a wide range of applications. Thanks to the combination of modern manufacturing processes and high-precision metrology in the group, we can also combine our expertise in manufacturing optical coatings with experience from qualification and testing.

We develop customized solutions for complex layer systems on the manufacturing side, for example, for satellite systems, telescopes, or laser systems. We have a wide range of processes available for manufacturing functional layer designs in the wavelength range from 120 nm to 4.8 µm. Upon customer request, we also explore the potential of the different processes in large-scale feasibility studies.

We use the following processes:

  • ion beam sputtering (IBS)
  • ion-assisted deposition (IAD)
  • e-beam / thermal evaporation

Further work focuses on coating glass substrates, low-E substrates, fluoride surfaces, laser crystals, and fiber end faces.

In testing and qualification, the high-precision determination of the lowest optical losses and the determination of the laser-induced damage threshold are part of our core competence. Besides, research activities focus on identifying and characterizing layer defects, which determine the lifetime and power compatibility of laser optics, especially in UV and high power applications, and on the analysis of the fundamental physical mechanisms involved in the interaction of such defects with electromagnetic radiation.

A wide variety of methods are used for these activities:

  • absorption measurement by laser calorimetry from the VUV to the IR spectral range
  • laser-induced damage threshold measurement in a wide range of pulse durations and laser wavelengths. Please contact us.
  • total scattered light measurement with high sensitivity up to the ppm range
  • standardized environmental tests for aerospace applications

These measurement methods, which have already been tested and established by us, are continuously developed and improved according to the requirements of various industrial sectors. The feasibility of new technologies is also researched according to customer requirements.

However, the continuous development and improvement of measurement technology is only one aspect. Due to the rapid progress of recent years in the optical industry, modern optical components are sometimes far ahead of standardized test procedures. Therefore, we are also intensively active in international standardization to continuously adapt current requirements to state of the art.