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Resource Page / Application Notes / Lasers / Common Laser Optics Materials
Common Laser Optics Materials

Common Laser Optics Materials

This is Section 1.9 of the Laser Optics Resource Guide.

Understanding the most commonly used laser optics materials will allow for easy navigation of EO’s wide selection of laser optics components. Table 1 below lists common substrates used for laser optics, along with their key properties, followed by transmission curves for each material. All values in Table 1 are at 1064nm and 20° C and all transmission curves show the internal transmission of 5mm thick substrates without Fresnel reflections. Transmission data was gathered using Edmund Optics’ spectrophotometers.

Material Transmission Range (nm) Index of Refraction (n) Abbe Number (v) Group Velocity Dispersion (fs2/mm)  dn/dT
(10-6/K) 
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (10-6/K) Relative Price

CaF21

200nm - 7μm

1.429

95.1

17.280

-10.6

8.85

$$$

UV Grade Fused Silica (Corning HPFS® 7980)2 185nm - 2.1µm 1.450 67.8 16.476 9.6 0.55 $$
KrF Grade Fused Silica (Corning HPFS® 7980)2 185nm - 2.1µm, T ≥ 99.9% @ 248nm 1.450 67.8 16.476 9.6 0.55 $$$
IR Grade Fused Silica (Corning HPFS® 7979)2 300nm - 3.5µm 1.451 67.8 16.476 9.7 0.55 $$($)
N-BK73 350 - 2000nm 1.507 64.2 22.369 3.0 7.1 $
N-SF53 330 - 2500nm 1.651 32.3 77.779 3.4 7.9 $
Sapphire*4 200 - 5500nm 1.755 72.2 28.588 13.1 5.4 $$$
N-SF113 400 - 2500nm 1.754 25.8 118.44 2.4 8.5 $
 *Sapphire is a birefringent material and all specifications correspond parallel to C-Axis
Table 1: Common laser optics substrates and their key properties (all values at 1064nm and 20° C). Materials are listed from smallest refractive index to largest refractive index. The small dollar sign by KrF grade fused silica indicates that it is slightly more expensive than UV grade fused silica. SImilarly, the small dollar sign in parentheses by IR grade fused silica indicates that it is sometimes slightly more expensive than UV grade fused silica, but it is almost never cheaper
Figure 1: CaF2 has excellent transmission in the UV and IR spectra, making it a great choice for both UV and IR laser optics applications.
Figure 1: CaF2 has excellent transmission in the UV and IR spectra, making it a great choice for both UV and IR laser optics applications

Figure 2: Sapphire is highly durable and can be used across a broad wavelength range from the UV to the IR

Figure 3: Fused Silica is available in UV and IR grades, which are differentiated by the amount of OH content in the material

Figure 4: While Fused Silica is more common in laser optics, CaF2, Sapphire, N-BK7, N-SF5, and N-SF11 are also used in some transmissive laser optics
Figure 5: The transmission of N-BK7, N-SF5, and N-SF11 decreases rapidly in the IR spectrum.
Figure 5: The transmission of N-BK7, N-SF5, and N-SF11 decreases rapidly in the IR spectrum

References

  1.  I. H. Malitson. “A redetermination of some optical properties of calcium fluoride,” Appl. Opt. 2, 1103-1107 (1963)
  2. “Corning HPFS® 7979, 7980, 8655 Fused Silica.” Corning, February 2014.
  3. “Optical Glass Data Sheets.” Schott, February 2014.
  4. I. H. Malitson. “Refraction and dispersion of synthetic sapphire,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 52, 1377-1379 (1962)
  5. Collier, David, and Rod Schuster. “Superpolishing Deep-UV Optics.” Photonics Spectra, February 2005.
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