Laser Zentrum Hannover and Fraunhofer-Institut open COMET, an optical coatings research center
The Jena facility's efforts will encompass coating manufacturing as well as technological issues.
The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (Hannover, Germany) and the Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Optik und Feinmechanik (IOF; Jena, Germany) have collaborated to form the Center for Optical Coatings and Metrology (COMET), which opened in practice about a month ago and more recently had a ceremonial opening. COMET is enabling the Laser Components Department of the LZH and the Optical Coatings Department of the IOF to jointly address current technological issues in the field of optical coatings.
For example, mirrors and thin-film filters are needed that have properties such as high stability, minimal absorption, and negligible scattering losses. Meeting these challenges is made easier by combining the expertise and existing infrastructure of more than one research institution in a joint-use partnership.
The two departments of the LZH and the IOF are already heavily into modern thin-film research. The LZH is expert in ion-beam-sputtering (IBS) processes and characterization measurements according to ISO standards, while the IOF has deep knowledge concerning optical functional layers and nanostructures on plastics, as well as high-quality coatings for the deep-UV (DUV) to extreme-UV (EUV) range. The complementary expertise of these two institutions includes not just the physical fundamentals and knowledge about available materials, but the various existing manufacturing processes and characterization methods as well.
One example of expertise
Just one example of this expertise was the recently completed project Farbneutrale Interferenzschichten zur Entspiegelung unter Berücksichtigung organischer Nanostrukturen (FIONA), which translated into English means "Color-neutral interference coatings for antireflective coatings including organic nanostructures." The resulting antireflective (AR) coating developed at IOF contained a combination of classical interference-layer coatings with subwavelength-nanostructured layers to achieve very wide bandwidths (for example, 400 to 1500 nm) and angular ranges while maintaining a maximum reflection of 0.3%. These coatings were created in both inorganic and organic materials.