Compared to the previous options, this product has many benefits that far outweigh its failings. In our opinion, this is the best solution to go for when choosing IR Windows optics.
There are many different types of crystal IR Window materials. The most common being germanium. This material is found on your infrared camera lens and can either be purple or orange in colour, depending on the coating that has been used.
Germanium is known in the industry as the ‘grey transmitter’, which means that its transmission loss is consistent across the whole of the infrared spectrum. This factor makes it fantastic for lenses as it modulates the IR signal the same way regardless of wavelength. Also, the addition of anti-reflective coatings (AR) makes windows manufactured from this material extremely good infrared transmitters. Unfortunately, germanium can be expensive, and using this material to manufacture a 4″ IR Window would mean they would would end up retailing over $2000 per unit, which rules it out.
Another material which can be used is sapphire, which is very durable and would be able to withstand a hammer impact. But, similar to germanium, this is still a very costly material.
This leaves two materials, which are both ‘flourides’ – Calcium Flouride (CAF2) and Barium Flouride (BAF2). Both of which have been used as optics in the past, but although BAF2 is highly transmissive and great for measurement, it can also be susceptible to moisture and somewhat toxic.
CAF2 is the least expensive option here and is the optimum IR Window optic material. Although it can be brittle, properly coated CAF2 optics do not degrade over time and any errors in reading caused by the optic can be corrected reliably and repeatedly with a properly configured infrared camera. Taking all of this into consideration, we prefer HydroGARD coated CAF2 over the other options as the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Carbon Flouride is homogenous, meaning that its transmission characteristics are consistent across the face of the IR Window. This means that a properly configured IR camera can correct any errors and provide the thermographer with a truly representative temperature measurement. This material is also optically and thermally transparent and is not only transmissive to IR and visual cameras, but to UV cameras as well.
This article comes from cord-ex edit released