Characteristics and Application Range of Optical Dome
Optical domes are a special kind of optical windows, which are strongly curved. For example, they can have the shape of a half-sphere, but domes with custom shapes are also available. Different sizes are available, sometimes with diameters well above 100 mm.
Same optical domes need to transmit only visible light, for example for use with camera systems. They may be made of same high-quality optical glass like BK7 or fused silica. Glass domes are also available for the ultraviolet range, e.g. with UV-grade fused silica. For some applications, plastic optics are appropriate.
Other domes are operated in the infrared; for example, such devices are applied in heat-seeking missiles. A particularly robust infrared material is sapphire. Other possible choices, partly allowing for much longer wavelengths, are zinc selenide, germanium, silicon and certain ceramics.
Different Types of Optical Domes
Infrared optical domes are important for defense applications, and here sapphire is often the material of choice. Aside from diamond, sapphire is the hardest natural substance, and it is resistant to scratching and abrasion. It is also capable of withstanding high pressure, and transmits eighty percent of light between the 2-5µm wavelength range.Other options for infrared domes are zinc selenide, germanium, calcium fluorite, zinc sulfide, and silicon.
Silicon has primary transmission in the3-5μm range, and has low density and high thermal conductivity. It is the most budget friendly in our lineup of IR materials.
Zinc Selenide domes have a broad wavelength length, from 3 µm to 16 µm, but ZnSe is softer than most other commonly used IR substrates and thus should not be used in harsh environments. It also a high index of refraction, but with an AR coating can achieve high transmission. It is a good choice for thermally demanding environments.
Germanium IR domes have a transmission range of 2-14 μm. They are durable, and although they are not as hard as sapphire, we can provide diamond AR coatings (hard carbon or DLC) to provide optimal resistance to harsh environments.
Polycrystalline Zinc Sulfide domes are hotpressed under vacuum, and provide multispectral transmission—an average of 70 % from 3-5µm and 8-12µm. This hotpressed zinc has good thermal properties, and a AR/AR coating can improve transmission.
MgF2 translucent ceramic domes are also hot pressed, and these domes exhibit high transmission between 2-7.5mm. They are often used for missiles and launch tubes because of their high knoophardness and a flexural strength rating of 20,000 psi.
Optical dome is used for deep sea submersible, deep sea equipment monitoring, underwater robot, meanwhile, optical dome has wide application in meteorological industry.
Optical dome (also called fairing) is commonly used in the aspect of missile guidance, and has been widely used in infrared guidance and various types of airborne optoelectronic platform weaponry, becoming an important part of these equipment technologies.
Due to the continuous expansion of application fields, the varieties and specifications of dome are also increasing and changing
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