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Scientists at Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada, have developed a method of 3D printing a type of glass suitable for incorporation into lasers and infrared optics.
The chalcogenide glass material has the potential to be used in various thermal imaging techniques, telecommunications devices, and other optical equipment. Through 3D printing, the team seek to create new, innovative geometries from the material, leading to the development of speciality components that can’t be produced any other way.
Yannick - Ledemi - Researcher - ULaval - Centre
Yannick Ledemi, a researcher at ULaval’s Centre d’Optique, Photonique et Laser (COPL) and co-author of a study reporting this advance summarizes the results: “3D printing of optical materials will pave the way for a new era of designing and combining materials to produce the photonic components and fibers of the future.”
“THIS NEW METHOD COULD POTENTIALLY RESULT IN A BREAKTHROUGH FOR EFFICIENT MANUFACTURING OF INFRARED OPTICAL COMPONENTS AT A LOW COST.”
Properties - Chalcogenide - Glass - Phase - Material
One of the interesting properties of chalcogenide glass is that it can be switched from amorphous to crystalline phase by precisely controlling how it is heated and cooled. This characteristic is what makes the material suitable for optical use, and even the storage of information – some types of chalcogenide glass are used to make re-writable CDs and DVDs.
The chalcogenide glass handled by the COPL team is a type commonly used for infrared transmission and contains arsenic sulfide. Compared to other glasses, this material softens at a relatively low temperature, around 330°C. Though outside the range of a common desktop 3D printer (230°C for PLA or up to 285°C for ABS) the team were able to modify a Creality ENDER-4 to work with the material. In place of highly specialized hardware, the use of a commercially available 3D printer is a key cost point of the experiment. The base ingredients used to fabricate the arsenic sulfide chalcogenide glass...
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