Over the past eighteen years, Labsphere has been involved with
on going research to improve the state-of-the art in reflectance
coatings and materials used as artifact standards for reflectance.
Our journey has led us in many directions. To evaluate coatings
and materials, our Reflectance Research Laboratory has accumulated
perhaps the world's finest collection of UV-Vis, UV-Vis-NIR, and
FT-IR spectrometers dedicated to the measurement of diffuse and
specular reflectance. This enables us to continue research for
the improvement of our current reflectance materials and coatings
as well as the development of new materials. Our applications
base is the largest in the industry- as we work closely with our
customers to fill their particular optical or reflectance needs.
Our coatings and materials have literally spanned the solar system
(the Mars Observer used a Labsphere Infragoldª infrared calibration
panel and lunar and asteroid probes employ InfraGold-LF panels)
to the depths of the seas. The airplanes you fly in, the photos
you have developed, the checks you receive from the bank, the
medical test instrument that analyzes your blood- all are likely
to contain Labsphere reflectance coatings or materials.
Non-Profit, Retail, Travel and Lodging
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many of the readers of this page will have started their career
in optics dealing with traditional diffuse reflectance coatings
and materials such as Opal glass, Eastman 6080, G-E Sphere paintª,
or even fumed magnesium oxide, this page will serve to update that
knowledge to the best coatings and materials available. This page
will guide the newcomer to the best possible coating for their application,
taking into consideration the wavelength range of interest, the
desired reflectance, functional consideration of environmental and
physical properties, as well as any limitations that are inherent
with any reflectance coating or material.
Labsphere is not the only company to produce optical coatings and
reflective materials, we are unique to the field in that we supply
such a wide range of such materials. Labsphere products cover the
spectral range from the deep ultraviolet to the far-infrared in
reflectance ranges from 99% to less than 1%.Labsphere produces standards
for color analysis, grey scale, and fluorescence. All of these materials
have been intensely studied for their BRDF properties, environmental
stabilty, and physical properties.
page should be considered a 'work-in-progess' as we are continually
improving and developing innovative new reflectnace products. Current
research projects include new fluorescent materials, diffuse selectively
reflective and fluorescent coatings, alternative mid to far-IR diffuse
reflectance materials, and new low reflectance coatings for the
hope you find this page useful and informative and, as always, we
appreciate your comments and suggestions.
Diffuse Reflectance Coatings
Traditionally, diffuse reflectance coatings have been used to improve
the performance of integrating spheres for lamp measurement photometers
and uniform light sources. These materials have also been used as
remote sensing targets. Labsphere produces a number of such coatings.
Spectraflectª and Duraflectª are predominantly used for
the Vis-NIR region of the spectra, though both can be used in the
UV under certain conditions. InfraGold(2) and Infragold-LF(3) are
used for near to mid-IR and mid to far-IR applications, respecively.
In the past four years, Labsphere's patented Spectralon® technology
has increased the efficiency of devices dependent on high reflectance,
lambertian devices in the UV-Vis-NIR region. Applications are as
varied as diffuse reflectors for line illuminators for film processing,
well plates for increasing the sensitivity of fluorescence measurements,
and for lamp measurement photometry in the UV. All of these materials
have certain physical and spectral properties that make them ideal
for most diffuse reflectance applications.
Labsphere reflectance standards have become the standard of choice
the world round. Spectralon® grey scale is used as the standard
reference materials of national laboratories in the United States
and Great Britain, and is used as a linearity standard in most commercial
NIR spectrometers. The base material, Spectralon SRS-99, is the
white standard of choice in UV-Vis-NIR reflectance spectroscopy
along with remote sensing applications due to its environemtal stability.
A particular, highly purified and documented form of this materials
known as Space Grade Spectralon®, is the standard of choice
on low-earth orbit imaging systems. A related material, Spectralon®
SRS-99L, is used as a reflective diffuser in many solid-state lasers.
and Infragold-LF are widely used as diffuse reflectance materials
and targets for near- to far-IR spectrometer systems. These materials
are chemically stable and highly lambertian over a wide wavelength
Labsphere offers two types of fluorescent standards. The first type,
Spectralon-based materials named Spectralon® SFS- materials,
exhibit a high degree of photolytic and environmental stability.
These materials are inorganic fluor based, UV activated materials.
These have found uses in typical applications for fluorescent standards-
paper whiteness, optical whitening agents, and the like. More recently,
applications in fluorescence microscopy and as remote fluorescent
targets have been developed. These materials are still very much
in their infancy in terms of applications, with more applications
and materials being developed on a regular basis.
second type of fluorescent standard is used in the traditional application
of determining instrument stability for users concerned with optical
brightness and flourescent whitening agents (FWA's) in paper and
textiles. Supplied to Labsphere and calibrated by F.T.Simon, Inc.,
the FTS-Fluorescent Standards are a new addition to Labsphere's
Wavelength Calibration Standards
Typically, to calibrate spectrophotometers for wavelength accuracy,
spectrocopists have used holmium oxide or dydimium oxide filters.
The reflectance equivalent of these materials are available under
appelation of Spectralon WCS These materials are used in reflectance
spectrometers to assure the accuracy of the monochromator or position
of peaks in a diode array spectrometer.
When the reflectance of specular or mirror-like materials is performed,
the best technique is to use a similar materials as a standard.
Labsphere offers Specular Reflectance Standard (SPRS) standards.
These standards are aged, magnesium fluoride coated first surface
aluminum mirrors for the calibration of other specular materials
in hemispherical geometry.
Diffusers are used to give a lambertian response to a detector,
either in a sphere system or as a solar collector. Typical transmittive
diffusers such as opal glass or ground quartz are either not transmittive
in part of the spectra (as is opal glass in the UV) or not particularly
lambertian in response (typical of ground quartz). Spectralon SDM
diffusers have the ability to transmit UV and also act as an extremely
lambertian diffuser over a wide spectral range. These materials
can also be tailored for either high or low transmittance to fit