About Transparent Ceramics

Transparent ceramics are polycrystalline ceramic materials that exhibit broadband transmittance of light in in the visible, mid-wave and long wave infrared wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum with transparency close or identical to standard glass. The unique properties of polycrystalline transparent ceramics make them useful in applications such as scintillator components, solid-state lasers, transparent armor, bulletproof glass, and non-linear/IR optics.

A subset of transparent ceramic materials is transparent conductive (or conducting) oxides (TCOs) which are wide band-gap compound semiconductors with high electron mobilities due to defects or dopants. Examples of common and experimental TCOs include indium tin oxide (ITO), indium zinc oxide (IZO), indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO), and aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO). These materials have numerous applications in thin film photovoltaics, electrodes for advanced lighting technologies, and and optical coatings.

Transparent ceramic materials are produced using high and ultra-high purity powders via tightly controlled processes like high-pressure (HP), high-isostatic pressure (HIP), vacuum, and spark-plasma sintering (SPS). These processes yield materials with maximum transparency (maintaining transparency up to 1200 °C) with higher thermal resistance, strength, hardness, and scratch-resistance than traditional optical glass or resins (3-4 x stronger than glass), in addition to being more easily mass produced because of the ability to form larger and complex geometries at this stage. The advanced processes involved in the production of sub-micron and nanoscale powder precursor materials, shaping, and sintering allows for tailoring of the microstructural, mechanical and optical properties of the finished product, all of which are far more economical than fabricating components from traditional single crystal materials like sapphire, given the labor and cost involved in crystal growth of boules and subsequent machining processes.

Below is a sampling of our transparent ceramics catalog. For more information on American Elements' transparent ceramics or to request a quote, email ceramics@americanelements.com or customerservice@americanelements.com for more general inquiries.