Refractive index database

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Optical constants of METALS
Copper (Cu)

Wavelength: µm

Complex refractive index (n+ik)[ i ]

n   k   LogX   LogY   eV

Derived optical constants

Conditions & Spec sheet

n_is_absolute: true
wavelength_is_vacuum: true


Fit of experimental data from several sources to Brendel-Bormann (BB) model


A. D. Rakić, A. B. Djurišic, J. M. Elazar, and M. L. Majewski. Optical properties of metallic films for vertical-cavity optoelectronic devices, Appl. Opt. 37, 5271-5283 (1998)
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Copper, Cu

Copper (Cu) is a highly versatile transition metal with excellent electrical and thermal conductivity. While its primary applications span electrical wiring, plumbing, and various industrial machinery, it also finds specialized uses in optics. Notably, polished, bare copper is often the material of choice for high-power infrared mirrors, including those used in CO2 lasers, due to its high reflectivity in the infrared spectrum and exceptional thermal resilience. The metal's malleability and corrosion resistance further allow it to be shaped into intricate forms, making it invaluable across a range of industries. Whether in general construction or specific niches like high-power optical components, copper's multifaceted properties make it a material of critical importance.

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Metals are integral to a wide array of optical technologies, offering unique properties like high reflectivity, excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, and robustness under various environmental conditions. Commonly used metals in optical applications include aluminum, silver, and gold, each with its distinct advantages and challenges. For example, aluminum is prized for its cost-effectiveness and high reflectivity in the UV and visible ranges, while gold is favored for its stability and performance in the infrared spectrum. Metals are often used as thin-film coatings on mirrors, beam splitters, and various optical components to enhance reflectivity, filter wavelengths, or provide protective layers. In recent years, the study of metal nanostructures has opened up the field of plasmonics, enabling extraordinary optical phenomena like sub-wavelength focusing and surface-enhanced Raman scattering. However, it's important to note that metals are generally opaque and exhibit high losses for transmitted light, limiting their use to reflective or surface-based applications. Additionally, their optical properties can be influenced by factors like surface roughness, layer thickness, and oxidation state, necessitating precise control during manufacturing and usage. Despite these challenges, metals remain a cornerstone in the design of optical systems, offering a combination of durability, performance, and versatility that is difficult to achieve with other types of materials.

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