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Optical Glass Components

Optical Glass Components

Date posted: July 12, 2016 // Special Glass

Special Glass

Some of the Many Useful Applications for Optical Glass Components

If asked to list some of the common uses for optical quality glass and components made from this material, it is probable that few people would be able to cite more than the lenses used in spectacles, cameras, microscopes and other magnifying instruments, such as binoculars and telescopes. These fairly commonplace devices, however, represent just a few of a much larger array that includes dozens of additional items used in diverse applications, and whose numbers seem destined to continue growing.

In addition to employing lenses, many scientific instruments (such as the spectrophotometers that are widely used for the quantitative analysis of various chemical substances in body fluids, drinking water, food and beverages) require additional components made of optical glass. These include items such as prisms of varying shapes and sizes, filters and beam splitters. Because their users are usually required to measure substances that are only present in extremely low concentrations, these crucially important parts must be machined to the highest specifications and manufactured from the highest quality raw materials.

However, not all of the parts used in the design of scientific instruments are required to transmit light. In the case of the astronomical telescope or interferometer, for instance, it is the reflective qualities of certain optical glass components, rather than their ability to transmit light, that is the key to their role. In such cases, the mirrors used must also be of a suitably high specification which, in most cases, means that it must have a low refractive index that is as close to that of air as possible.

Depending upon the precise application in which they are to be used, such items may be required to display additional properties, such as the ability to block light of certain wavelengths, most often those in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum. Conversely, under other circumstances, specialised filters may be required to transmit these wavelengths preferentially while absorbing visible light.

Other everyday applications for these high-grade materials are to be found in slide projectors, the theodolites used by surveyors, planetariums, DNA sequencers and polarimeters. In short, wherever it may be necessary to generate, to manipulate or to measure electromagnetic radiation in any of its forms, there is likely to be a need for precision optical glass components.

With their importance well established, the next requirement is to identify a reliable source. In South Africa, LIT Africa is a name that has long been associated with high-quality vitreous products for use in a wide range of routine and specialised applications. To maintain our high standards, we source our optical glass components exclusively from world-renowned manufacturers, such as WZW and Schott.