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Metal Optics


Knight Optical is able to supply custom metal optics for use as reflectors across a wide waveband (<0.1 to >300µm). These custom metal optics are available using the following, although not exclusively.

Custom range of Copper optics: Copper has been used for making mirrors for many thousands of years. The flat surface mirror was beaten until it was flat and then polished to produce a surface from which reflections can be seen. These early mirrors were not that reflective and the next use was for reflecting optics telescope mirror as used by, for example, William Herschel’s 49½” speculum mirror, more commonly known as the 40 foot telescope. The speculum metal is not entirely copper as it also contains about 33% tin. In the infra-red wavebands fro 1µm to over 10µm the copper surface will maintain its reflectivity of over 90%. However, copper does tarnish and therefore needs, for example, a transparent coating to block the tarnishing process or used in an environment where tarnishing cannot occur. Copper has a high thermal transmission and therefore can be used for high intensity light systems were even an absorption of a few percent would degrade the mirror. Copper mirrors are used, for example, within the gain and summing areas of Diode Pumped Solid-State Lasers (DPSSLs) where the small size and heat removal present challenges.


Custom Aluminium optics: Aluminium is a good thermal and electrical conductor, having about a 60% conductivity, thermal and electrical, of copper for both. However, aluminium only has a density that is only 30% of copper, which makes it a better choice material for weight conscious designs, such as the Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer. Aluminium is used, with copper laminates, as the substrate for high brightness LED lighting. Precision machining can be used to make solid mirror assemblies that has the highest reflectance of any mirror finished surface in the 0.2 to 0.4µm (UV) and in the 3 to 10µm (Far Infra-red) regions. In the visible region, 0.4 to 0.7µm, the finish is better from tin and silver, and in the 0.7 to 3µm (NIR) by silver, gold, and copper.

Custom Brass optics: Similar to copper as it is an alloy of copper and zinc, which makes it less malleable than pure copper and therefore withstand attack from cleaning cloths where dirt particles are embedded.

Custom Nickel optics: Nickel is used as a plating material for, for example, brass to prevent (slow down) the oxidation of the bulk material. Used as mirrors and mounts for other optics.

Custom Stainless-steel optics: Stainless steel is made from an alloy of about 60% nickel and the rest steel. With the correct alloy the stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and staining and as optics can be used in areas that are, for example, sterilized.

Knight Optical’s custom metal optics are used in a wide range of optical systems, from laser pen pointers to high power laser systems. The primary use is in the mid to far infra-red where they are used for mirrors as part of the gain channel, through to multi-wavelength system where chromatic aberration will not be visible from the reflecting optics.

Uses of the custom metal optics range from heat sinks and mirrors for the gain channel in solid-state diode lasers where the output wavelengths range from, for example, 405nm through to 1.5µm, through to CO2 lasers and other lasing medium where corrosion caused by the gain medium has to be negated to keep the laser operational for more than one shot.

Knight Optical supply high quality metal optic components made to our exacting specification. Every component is individually tested by our highly skilled technicians in our state of art metrology lab to ensure all components meet our high quality standards.

Contact our multilingual technical sales team and discover how Knight Optical’s high quality metal optics and service can improve your instrumentation and supply chain experience.

Our 2018/2019 Catalogue

Inside Knight Optical’s catalogue you’ll find details of the industries we serve as well as the many other services we can offer. It also showcases hundreds of our most popular products, supported by useful technical information, to help you choose the right part for your application.
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