The design, production and application of composites as optical materials is challenging due to the degradation in optical properties that can occur when two dissimilar materials are combined. Some polymer/glass fiber composites are used as optical components where improved mechanical properties are needed. Recently, a new class of optical composites has been developed where the microstructure is tailored to produce properties not possible in the single component materials. Properties can be varied through compositional gradients or by combining individual, immiscible materials on very fine scale.
CeraNova was a member of Raytheon’s Nano-Composite Optical Ceramic (NCOC) material team where one such unique composite was developed under a four-year DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) project. This new optical composite provides a revolutionary improvement in IR-transmitting windows, combining a distinctive balance of optical and mechanical performance.