At Avantier, we possess the expertise to produce custom optical domes solutions in a wide variety of substrates and sizes. Whether you require enhanced durability for high-pressure environments or precise optical quality, our team can design and manufacture the perfect optical dome tailored to your specific application.

Optical domes, also known as hemispheric optical windows, play a crucial role in transmitting light while providing a protective boundary between two systems or environments. These specialized optical components are commonly used to safeguard fragile optical systems in demanding applications. For instance, in aerospace engineering, they protect LIDAR optical sensors from the impact of fast-moving objects.

Large Optical Dome
Large Optical Dome (φ240mm)
Small Optical Dome
Small Optical Dome (φ10mm)
H-K9L Optical Dome (φ60mm)
H-K9L Dome (φ60mm)
Sapphire Dome (φ20mm)
Sapphire Dome (φ20mm)
JGS1 Dome (φ110mm)
JGS1 Dome (φ110mm)
Custom Optical Domes
Custom Optical Domes

Types of Optical Domes Solutions

In defense applications, infrared optical domes play a crucial role, with sapphire emerging as a favored material alongside diamond. Sapphire, renowned for its exceptional hardness—second only to diamond—is highly resistant to scratching and abrasion. It is also capable of withstanding high pressure, and transmits eighty percent of light between the 2-5µm wavelength range.

Alternatives to sapphire for infrared domes include zinc selenide, germanium, calcium fluorite, zinc sulfide, and silicon. Among these, silicon stands out for its primary transmission capabilities within the 3-5μm range, coupled with its low density and high thermal conductivity. Moreover, it is the most cost-effective option among the listed infrared materials.

The choice of substrate will determine whether a particular optical dome is suitable for visible, ultraviolet, or infrared optical applications. Here we’ll look at a few popular choices.

Fused Silica Dome: Ideal for visible light applications, this substrate offers optimal transmission in the 300 nm to 2 µm wavelength range. It is resistant to high pressure and chemical etching. For UV-range light transmission, Avantier can manufacture optical glass domes with UV fused silica. This optical glass provides over 85 percent transmission for wavelengths up to 185 nm.

Fused Silica Optical Dome φ 120mm
Fused Silica Dome, φ 120mm

Sapphire Dome: Well-suited for infrared optical dome applications, sapphire transmits up to eighty percent of light in the 2-5 µm wavelength range. It is extremely resistant to scratching and abrasion, making it an excellent choice for defense applications and high-pressure environments, such as underwater camera systems for deep sea exploration.

Sapphire Optical Dome
Sapphire Dome

Germanium Dome: Transmitting light between 2-14 μm, germanium domes can be manufactured with diamond anti-reflection coatings to enhance durability in harsh environments.

Germanium Optical Domes
Germanium Dome

Zinc Selenide (ZnSe) Dome: Suitable for IR domes, ZnSe has excellent optical properties and a broader wavelength range (3 µm to 16 µm) than sapphire. However, it is less hard and best used in more controlled environments. Anti-reflection coatings are recommended due to its high index of refraction.

Zinc Selenide (ZnSe) Optical Dome
Zinc Selenide (ZnSe) Dome

MgF2 Ceramic Dome: Offering high transmission between 2 µm to 7.5 µm, MgF2 ceramic domes have a high flexural strength rating and 1350 kg mm² Knoop hardness rating. The hot press manufacturing method allows greater flexibility in dome shape and size, making it a preferred substrate for launch tubes and missiles.

MgF2 Ceramic Optical Dome
MgF2 Ceramic Dome, φ224mm

Custom Optical Domes Applications

They are also used for weather monitoring, navigation systems, half-space observation, head protection optics, and in security technology.

  • Underwater Cameras and Imaging: In deep sea environments, they enable smooth functioning of precision optical assemblies within high-pressure conditions. They keep water out of the optic system while providing a clear field of view for submersible ROVs and AUVs.
  • Defense: Infrared optical domes are crucial for heat-seeking missiles, providing a wide range of viewing directions without beam deflection. Durable substrates like sapphire or MgF2 perform well even under extreme conditions.
  • Weather Monitoring: They are used in weather monitoring systems to protect optical components while allowing accurate measurements.
  • Navigation Systems: They play a vital role in navigation systems, ensuring precision and protection.
  • Head Protection Optics: In certain applications, they are used to protect the head while allowing optical functionality.
  • Security Technology: They are utilized in security systems for surveillance and monitoring purposes.

Optical Domes Manufacturing Capability

Material

BK7, CaF2, Cleartran, Fused Silica, MgF2, etc

Diameter 

2~500mm

Thickness 

>1mm

Coating 

AR coating for VIS, SWIR, NIR, MWIR, LWIR, broadband

Surface Accuracy 

1/10-1 lambda

Dimensional Tolerance 

+/-0.1mm

Surface Quality

20/10-60/40

Clear Aperture

90%

Environment Testing

Extreme cold-heat cycle, sand blasting, salt water, adhesive test

Specification Testing

Qualification Test, Optimization Test, Dimensional Test, According to DIN, ISO and MIL standards

Custom Optical Domes Solutions

At Avantier, we specialize in creating custom optical domes solutions tailored to meet our customer’s specific requirements. Instead of offering a static list of catalog options, we collaborate closely with our clients to understand their applications and recommend suitable substrates, coatings, and geometric designs for optimal performance.

Our optical engineers possess expertise in creating high-precision geometric designs and selecting appropriate optical coatings. With access to various substrate materials, including fused silica, sapphire, MgF2, and ZnSe, we can develop special adapter interface surface designs with mechanical mounts customized for your application.

Our state-of-the-art in-house manufacturing equipment enables us to manufacture optical domes with tight tolerances, providing precision optics at competitive prices. Contact us today to initiate the design process and schedule an introductory consultation. Experience the reliability and high quality of Avantier’s custom optical domes solutions for your next optical system project.

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