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Safire2 – Antireflection Coating

The Safire2 broadband antireflection coating is unique in the UK. It is processed using the Leybold APS argon gas plasma system which creates a flat, hard, dense structure that greatly resists scratching.

Using APS technology

Lower temperature coating is becoming important as lens materials become more sophisticated and sensitive to processing temperatures. Safire2 utilises low temperature high-powered plasma during the deposition of carefully selected dielectric materials. The argon gas plasma source adds energy to the process without adding heat or thermal stress to the lenses.

The result of the plasma process is the production of dense, smooth layers which exhibit excellent optical properties. These superior film properties, such as lower light scattering, lead to excellent transmission and clarity.

Advanced top coat chemistry

Hydrophobic top coat

Hydrophobic top coat

The Safire2 AR coatings exhibit a very smooth dense surface structure. This smooth film combined with the Safire2 reactive top coat makes lens care and cleaning much easier. The top coat chemistry utilised for Safire2 is based on accurately controlled vapour deposition. Unlike standard top coats there is no clear interface between the final layer of the coating stack and the top coat materials as the chemicals bond with the final layer of the AR.This bonding

  • ensures that the top coat remains on the lens, cannot be easily removed and provides additional protection against daily wear and tear
  • assists the creation of an outstanding hydrophobic and oleophobic properties, making the lenses easier to clean due to the rejection of water and grease

Production & Quality Control

Ultrasonic cleaning & resin hardcoating

Ultrasonic cleaning & resin hardcoating

Cleanliness is an important part of the coating process and all Siltint’s vacuum production is undertaken in a clean-air, temperature controlled environment where positive air pressure in the rooms removes dust or other contaminants.

Before the AR coating stack is applied in the vacuum chamber the lenses receive appropriate pre-processing

  • Plastic and polycarbonate lenses are cleaned ultrasonically and have a resin hardcoat applied that removes surface blemishes and provides a stable base for the AR coating stack
  • Glass lenses are cleaned ultrasonically
  • Before loading into the chambers lenses are held in clean-air laminar flow cabinets

 

Each day sample lenses are measured to check that the AR is within the specification of reflection <0.5% 450 – 650 nm and that coating adhesion and abrasion resistance meet the standards set. All lenses are individually inspected before being despatched with DX.

Plasma assisted deposition

Siltint’s advanced APS gas plasma technology ensures that the coatings are environmentally stable and higher surface damage thresholds can be achieved. Additionally, this technology enables the deposition of coatings onto temperature sensitive substrates such as polycarbonate or high-index plastics.

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