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OptiLayer:  Your Partner in Design and Post-Production Characterization of Optical Coatings


Metal-dielectric Color Coatings

OptiLayer allows designing all types of metal-dielectric coatings. Even design with metal-island films is possible.

Example: One of the building blocks in such coatings is a metal island film (for example, Ag, Au) embedded into SiOe environment. Metal-dielectric composite Ag-SiO2 (Au-SiO2) can be represented as s thin layer with effective thickness \(\delta\).

Refractive index \(n(\lambda)\) and extinction coefficient \(k(\lambda)\) can be found from thin film characterization based on ellipsometric/photometric experimental data related to test samples (sandwiches of SiO2-Ag-SiO2 or SiO2-Au-SiO2). For this purpose, an unique non-parametric characterization approach of OptiLayer can be applied.

 Schematic representation of a metal-dielectric sandwich.

multilayer coatings metal layers

 refractive index metal dielectric film

extinction coefficient metal dielectric film


  • Layer combination SiO2-Ag-SiO2 should be kept unchanged in the course of the design process;
  • Thicknesses of SiO2 layers should be not less than 40 nm due to technological reasons;
  • Effective thickness of Ag layer is fixed because optical constants \(n(\lambda)\) and \(k(\lambda)\) are determined for each particular mass thickness of the metal layer. Example (left pane): refractive index and extinction coefficient of 12-nm Ag-SiO2 composite film.

Design Example: Coatings reflected light of different colors from their front and back sides. Transmittance of the sample should be more than 50%.

Many combinations of colors of the reflected light from front and back sides can be considered, for example:

  • Violet and Yellow;
  • Yellow and Green;
  • Violet and Pink;
  • Violet and Orange and so on.

Such coatings can be easily designed with the help of OptiLayer. Color coordinates of such coatings are shown on the chromaticity diagram on the right pane.

Number of layers is from 7 to 12

With effective thickness of Ag-SiO2 layer of 12 nm, averaged transmittance in the visible spectral range is about 60-65%.

Similar samples can be produced:

coatings for color applications

Learn more in our publications:

 chromaticity diagram

Easy to start

Icons 100x100 1OptiLayer provides user-friendly interface and a variety of examples allowing even a beginner to effectively start to design and characterize optical coatings.        Read more...

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