A sapphire window is a protective pane made from synthetic sapphire crystals. Sapphire is extremely strong and durable. This is why it is the perfect protective material for optics. These optical windows shield a circuit in a device or laser. These windows come in different sizes and shapes. These sapphire panes are more durable than glass or quartz.
How is a sapphire window made?
Sapphire is grown synthetically by various methods. They form in different grades that vary in quality. Sapphire windows are optical panes that come in a fractional thickness. Firstly, they grow sapphire in a heated furnace. They initially form in large cylinders.
The sapphire cylinders are cut into rods. These rods are then cut into very thin circles. Finally, they undergo grinding and polishing to become optical windows. These windows are small in size. Higher qualities of sapphire offer clarity and better light transmission, without scattering. This makes them transparent and ideal for use.
Properties of Sapphire windows:
Sapphire windows withstand harsh conditions and have higher optical resistance. Sapphire has a lot of exceptional properties. This is why it is ideal for making optic windows. Following are the characteristics of these windows:
- Synthetic sapphire is the second hardest substance, next only to diamond. The strength of sapphire allows it to be made as highly thin windows. Their thickness is often less than other common optical panes.
- They have a high-temperature threshold and stability. Hence, these windows show lower damage with time than others. Suitable for use with higher powers.
- These windows perform better in transmittance.
- They are highly temperature resistant with almost no degradation.
- Sapphire is chemically stable and bioinert. It does not react with even corrosive acids or solvents.
- They do not lose their clarity or luminance when exposed to ultraviolet light.
- The windows offer higher bandwidth transmissions of Ultraviolet and infrared rays.
- They also have high electrical resistance.
Types of sapphire windows:
Many companies produce high-quality sapphire optical windows. Furthermore, you can customize the dimensions and shape of the windows. Some of the common types of sapphire panes available are:
- Round shaped window
- Ultra-thin shaped window
- Step shaped window
- Rectangular window
- Custom shape window
- Wedge-shaped window
- Circular window
Most companies offer sapphire fabrication services such as polishing, grinding, drilling, shaping, coating and metallization.
Applications of sapphire optical windows:
Sapphire windows are useful in devices that need optical protection. Hence, they help in insulating, preventing scratches, corrosion and other damage. These windows come in handy for the following applications:
- Phones use these windows to protect their internal optics. They are known as Sapphire display windows. Not all phones have these display windows, since sapphire is expensive. They use straightened (called Gorilla) glass instead of sapphire. The latest iPhones use this sapphire window. However, previously, expensive and luxurious adorned these windows to protect their clockwork.
- Unlike common glass, sapphire retains its unique feature even in harsh conditions. Even the military uses these windows because of their unmatchable strength and durability. Hence, they protect their important optics and vital devices like lasers.
- Vehicles of the military and other high-profile systems also use these windows to guard their sensors, lasers and cameras. Moreover, even submarines use this material because of its high resistance to pressure and saltwater abrasion.
- These sapphire panes largely aid the medical industry. Devices like the endoscope use these for their protection. Since sapphire is chemically inert and highly stable, it helps to protect the optics of an endoscope. A doctor inserts this device into the human body to examine the internal organs. It has a camera at the end to figure out the problem.
- The highly durable sapphire is scratch-resistant and inert. So, it helps to clean the internal organs without damaging the endoscope. The windows stay intact for years without needing replacements.
Sapphire windows sit perfectly in appliances that demand high power, temperature, or optical resistance. Their strength surpasses most types of glasses and stones like quartz. Its long-lasting durability reduces the maintenance and repair costs of complex devices. Moreover, they protect any appliance under any condition with their high damage threshold. Hence, they help guard the delicate optics of expensive devices.