Materion Barr Precision Optics & Thin Film Coatings, a Materion Corporation (NYSE: MTRN) business, announced the impending completion of an 18-month project that will significantly enhance its capability to manufacture and test extremely large optical interference filters and other complex optical coatings. The Large Optics Coating Facility in Westford, Massachusetts, is uniquely positioned to produce high performance band pass filters in much larger sizes than are currently available. The trend in astronomy and associated optical equipment is different from most markets and is progressing toward larger-sized optics.
Delivery of the custom-designed and fabricated system is scheduled for December with operation commissioned for the first quarter of 2013. The facility will include a high-vacuum deposition system, a metrology set to test large coated optical elements and a precision wash station to clean large optical substrates. The installation of the new equipment in a specially built clean room will allow the precise deposition and testing of complex interference filters consisting of a few to well over 100 layers on substrates as large as 1.4 meters diameter.
Initial work will concentrate on extending Materion’s capability to coat narrow band pass filters from the Company’s present size limit near 60 cm diameter to 75 cm. The second phase of process development will focus on precision beam splitters up to 100 cm in diameter. Finally, Materion will develop very high performance mirrors and anti-reflection coatings for specialized astronomical and space applications in sizes up to 140 cm diagonal/diameter. Materion will provide these high performance coatings on any currently utilized substrate including glasses, ceramics, beryllium, composites and crystal materials.
The enhanced capability will allow Materion to meet the requirements of the astronomical community for several large ground-based telescopes in development. It will also support very high performance space programs, worldwide observatories and space hardware contractors as well as utilize Materion’s optical grade beryllium mirror material.