Dobrowolski, J. A. Institute for Microstructural Sciences, National Research Council of Canada, Ontario, Canada.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Filters and coatings
- Thin-film thicknesses and materials
- Deposition processes
- Optical interference filters and coatings
- State of the art
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Optical filters that are based on the interference of optical radiation in thin films—the phenomenon responsible for the iridescent colors observed in soap bubbles, oil slicks, shells, bird feathers, and butterfly wings. An optical filter is any material or device that is used to change the intensity, spectral distribution, phase, or polarization properties of the transmitted or reflected components of the optical radiation incident upon it. Large and complicated instruments, such as interferometers and spectrophotometers, are not usually included within this definition. Some of the many other different physical principles that have been used in the past to produce optical filters are absorption, reflection, scattering, diffraction, and polarization. The term “coating” is commonly used as a synonym for “filter” and, historically, has been applied to thin-film filters of certain functionalities. See also: Color filter; Interference of waves
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