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Vacuum coating of plastic optics

: Schulz, U.; Kaiser, N.


Progress in Surface Science 81 (2006), Nr.8-9, S.387-401
ISSN: 0079-6816
Fraunhofer IOF ()
antireflection; coating on plastic; plasma surface modification; plastic optics; vacuum coating

Vacuum technologies for the deposition of optical interference coatings on polymer substrates, based on long-term experience in glass coating, have been under development for about 20 years. A growing market for precision optical elements and consumer optics moulded from thermoplastic polymers requires antireflective properties and hard coatings. Owing to the manifold chemical and physical properties of optical polymers, special efforts are essential for each type of plastic to find polymer-capable coating conditions. The main focus of this article is on evaluating the state of the art in vacuum-coating processes applied to plastics today, and on discussing specific coating techniques and evaluation procedures. A better understanding of the complex interactions between low-pressure plasmas and the various polymer materials will be a key factor in making durable plastic optics for future applications; achieving this will be a challenge to surface scientists.