Copper and Aluminum Mirrors

Copper and Aluminum mirrors play an important role in many optical systems. At Avantier, we produce high performance copper and aluminum mirrors for a wide range of applications. 

Aluminum mirrors are especially key in astronomy, as they can be used to reflect both UV and visible light. For instance, the NASA Hubble Space Telescope is based on an aluminum mirror. Aluminum mirrors reflect only 90% of the light, but this is sufficient for many applications.  Where higher reflectivity, silver mirrors can be used to reflect up to 95%.

Copper mirrors reflect infrared and red light and are often selected for high power laser. The high conductivity of the metal allows for the dispersion of excess heat, enabling high performance under conditions that would degrade nonmetallic mirrors. Silver coated copper mirrors can be used where the thermal properties of copper and optical properties of silver are required.

Copper and Aluminum Mirrors
Copper and Aluminum Mirror

Copper and Aluminum Mirrors for Optics vs. Household Mirrors

Ordinary metallic mirrors used in home decorations are almost always second surface mirrors (with metal deposited on the second surface of the substrate). This enables the transparent substrate to provide protection for the delicate copper and aluminum, and allow for a good care routine in dirty places; these kinds of mirrors can be cleaned with more corrosive chemicals. 

Copper and aluminum mirrors used for precision optics applications are almost always first surface mirrors (with metal deposited on the first surface of the substrate) in order to avoid the chromatic dispersion and ghost images. The high quality metallic surfaces of these mirrors must be treated with extreme care. When more durability is required, protected or enhanced metallic mirrors can be produced.

Copper and Aluminum Mirrors

Types of Aluminum and Copper Mirrors

Protected Aluminum mirrors have a thin overcoat (λ/2) of SiO deposited on delicate aluminum surface. Performance is maintained, and the resulting surface is relatively abrasion-resistant. 

Enhanced aluminum mirrors will have a dielectric coating consisting of several ultra-thin layers, chosen for increased reflectance in specific spectral ranges. For instance, one dielectric coating option could increase the reflectance in the 400-650 nm range while another increases reflectance in 120-400 nm. A dielectric coating will also serve to protect the delicate metal. 

Copper mirrors may be coated with protected gold, protected silver, protected aluminum or molybdenum to achieve a mirror with the robust cooling properties of copper and the optical properties of the metal coating.  

Metallic mirrors may be designed to be  plano, spherical, aspherical, or toroidal. 

Custom Copper and Aluminum Mirrors at Avantier

At Avantier, we can produce copper or aluminum mirrors in any configuration desired. Rather than use in stock optics which are almost good enough, we invite you to work with our experienced engineers and optical designers to design the optical piece that is 100% perfect for you.  Our state of the art factories and high quality metrology equipment enable us to produce precision optical mirrors that meet all applicable standards. Contact us today to place your custom order or schedule your first consult.


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