By Gernot Weber
Worldwide Product Manager IR Glass at SCHOTT.
For decades, chalcogenide infrared (IR) glasses (chalcogenides) were considered “exotics.” For the rather-small number of applications that relied on IR wavelengths, other IR materials performed well. As a result, demand for chalcogenides was quite limited. Low demand for the material restricted producers to small businesses that had a hard time providing detailed technical descriptions of their products or reproducible, consistent results. The result was a self-fulfilling prophecy: low demand meant low availability of material, and thus a reluctance on the part of optical designers and product researchers to experiment or explore chalcogenides as a material solution to new products.
New demand for and increased availability of high-quality infrared glasses enable optical designs that are smaller, lighter, and do not require internal cooling systems.