Testing hardness of complex coating systems for optical components


The demands placed on the performance of optical components have skyrocketed and, in response, highly complex coating systems have been developed to produce surfaces that are scratch-resistant, dirt-repellent, anti-static and reflective.

Various curing processes are integral to the production of optical coatings, making it difficult but important to find the decisive balance between coating hardness and elasticity.

Quality control therefore requires correspondingly powerful measurement methods and systems. For the standard-compliant determination of such material parameters as hardness and elastic modulus the instrumented indentation test can be used, even thin coatings of less than 100 nanometres in thickness can be measured accurately.