3 glass technologies driving future tech at Photonics West

Photonics West 2017 brings together the researchers, engineers, designers, and manufacturers that are powering everything from driverless cars to tattoo removal.

For a peek inside that future, we rounded up three of the most popular materials we are displaying at the show, all of which play a role in the most advanced technology of today and tomorrow.

1. Chalcogenides

For thermal imaging, the sensor has always been the main cost driver. Now chalcogenide glasses are lowering those costs. Instead of using different IR glasses for different temperatures to avoid noise in the image, chalcogenides offer a single component that produces clear images at a range of temperatures. Chalcogenides lower manufacturing costs as well, since they’re molded.

SCHOTT’s new IR broadband material IRG 27 offers excellent transmission from 680 nm in the visible range through the SWIR, MWIR, and LWIR wavelengths, and has no Germanium content, allowing minimal absorption at 12.5 μm. One major advantage is the near zero dn/dT across the entire SWIR (starting at 1.5 μm) through the MWIR and LWIR range.

Photonics West Glass Technologies

Photonics West

2. Laser glass

These materials are making possible lightweight and precision laser range finders, enabling better tattoo removal, and powering some of our national labs’ most ambitious laser experiments. The LiDAR systems that make driverless cars possible are growing smaller and lighter as a result of these glasses, bringing autonomous driving several steps closer to mainstream use.

SCHOTT’s new BLG 80 features broad emission bands, making it a cost-effective alternative to Ti:Sa. It replaces mixed silicate-phosphate systems for high powered lasers, and allows for novel new lasers with a more compact architecture.

Photonics West Glass Technologies

SCHOTT Photonics West


3. Bendable glass

Ultra-thin and flexible glass is supporting semiconductor materials, fingerprint sensors, and even wearables.

SCHOTT’s AS 87 eco is the world’s first mass-volume available, high-strength, ultra-thin glass with no need for slimming. Its extremely high impact and bending strength, and resistance to scratches, make it tough despite its thinness. Because it doesn’t need to be slimmed, there is no hydro fluoride usage in production, making it free of hazardous substances. Its excellent transmission characteristics create opportunities for wearables, smartphones, and sensors, among myriad other applications.

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Hi, I’m Steve Sokach. I’ve been with SCHOTT for 27 years and currently serve as the Director of Sales for the Advanced Optics Business Unit in the Americas. I received my bachelor’s degree in Optics from the University of Rochester and an MBA from the University of Scranton. On a personal note, I enjoy supporting my three daughters’ academic and athletic activities and traveling with my wife.

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