Will large-area sapphire substrates spark optical clarity advances?
The 36 x 18 x 2 inches of sapphire the company has produced will serve the needs of defense, commercial and industrial applications.
Supported by a research contract from the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Electronic & Sensors Branch, Materials & Manufacturing Directorate, the Large-Area Net-Shape Crystal Extraction (LANCE) project encompasses the development of large-area sapphire windows of optical quality for military sensing applications. Previous sapphire production methods were incapable of supporting the growth of sapphire crystals at the thickness needed by the AFRL, so Rubicon drew on its decade of experience and culture of innovation to develop a new growth platform enabling the production of large sapphire windows of up to 2 inches thick.
“Creating sapphire to meet the size required by the Air Force is incredibly complex and time-intensive, but we were intrigued by the challenge of achieving something that has never been done before and delivering a product unlike anything the market has ever seen,” explained William Weissman, Rubicon Technology interim CEO. “While the project is not finalized, we are incredibly encouraged by this milestone. The potential applications for this product are almost limitless and will provide benefits to both the military and industrial applications for decades to come.”
The military and high-performance industries desire sapphire at large sizes because of its strength, optical clarity in the visible and infrared spectra, hardness, abrasion resistance and thermal conductivity. The large sapphire windows produced by Rubicon are intended for use as military sensor technologies or infrared windows in extreme environments where both durability and are important.
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