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Capturing the Power of One of Nature’s Hardest Materials

June 05, 2016

The sapphire is a gemstone of the mineral corundum variety. Closely related to the ruby and ranking third behind the diamond in terms of hardness, the sapphire is recognized as one of the hardest, most durable and most scratch-resistant materials on the planet. Its blue tint is caused by traces of iron and titanium, and its natural composition make it an ideal component for thousands of high-tech products. IRD Glass works with purified grown sapphire, a synthetic form of the sapphire that has nearly identical physical, chemical and optical properties.

Incredible Sapphire Properties

More than anything else, sapphire is known for hardness. At a nine on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, the sapphire ranks close behind the diamond. Other notable properties held by the sapphire include thermal stability, high rigidity, imperviousness to abrasion, low dielectric loss, resistance to corrosion, electrical insulation, heat resistance, and broad transmission range (UV to mid-infrared).

    • Optical

Combination of high transparency across the UV to Near IR (~150 nm – 5mm) with high chemical and temperature resistance make sapphire an excellent choice for window/viewports applications in high performance vacuum systems, furnaces, deep sea cameras, fire alarm systems, etc.

    • Electric

High, stable dielectric constant enables the electrical insulation required for LED, RF, and microwave applications.

    • Thermal

High thermal resistance up to 1800°C and high thermal conductivity mean high thermal shock resistance and use in many harsh process environments.

    • Chemical

Sapphire is resistant to many process chemicals such as HFl and fluorine plasma used in semiconductor wafer processing.

    • Radiation

Resistance to radiation darkening makes it suitable for long term, high optical energy applications.

Applications of Sapphires

Its resistance to extreme environmental conditions make sapphires a highly prized element in laser optics and sensor equipment as well as thousands of high-tech products, including microwave tubes, medical x-ray systems, infrared optics, protective sapphire windows, aerospace windows, infrared detectors, electronic substrates, instrumentation, and spectrometer systems. Low expansion and high temp resistance enable space technology applications.

Machining Sapphires for Precision Optical Components

Making customized products and components from sapphire requires state-of-the art equipment. IRD Glass has CNC machining equipment in house, which allows us to achieve remarkable, reduce turnaround time and deliver full product runs or prototypes to our clients within tight time constraints. To get a sapphire component to exact specifications, milling, polishing, grinding, drilling, dicing and thin-film coating may be used in addition to machining.

Partnership & Precision with IRD Glass

IRD Glass is a recognized leader in custom sapphire optic design and manufacture. Our state-of-the-art precision sapphire machining equipment produces custom sapphire windows of up to 8″ in diameter as well as those 4″ in diameter and smaller. If you need unparalleled customization, less variance, and reliable turnaround times, look no further than IRD Glass. For more information, please visit our homepage or contact us today.