Refractive index database

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Optical constants of PbS (Lead sulfide)
Zemel et al. 1965: n 3.5–10 µm

Wavelength: µm

Complex refractive index (n+ik)[ i ]

n   k   LogX   LogY   eV

Derived optical constants

Dispersion formula [ i ]



300 K (27 °C)


1) J. N. Zemel, J. D. Jensen, and R. B. Schoolar. Electrical and optical properties of epitaxial films of PbS, PbSe, PbTe, and SnTe, Phys. Rev. 140, A330-A342, 1965
2) Handbook of Optics, 2nd edition, Vol. 2. McGraw-Hill 1994).
*Ref. 2 provides second term of the dispersion formula


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Lead sulfide, PbS

Lead sulfide (PbS) is a semiconducting material with intriguing optical and electronic characteristics. Falling within the family of IV-VI semiconductors, PbS has a narrow bandgap, making it especially responsive to infrared (IR) radiation. This sensitivity has led to its widespread use in infrared detectors and thermal imaging systems. Photodetectors crafted from PbS can operate in the short-wave and mid-infrared regions, making them integral in various military and civilian applications. Moreover, PbS quantum dots, which are tiny nanoscale particles, have drawn attention in recent years due to their potential in enhancing solar cell efficiency and in various optoelectronic applications. However, given that PbS contains lead, safety precautions are necessary during handling and disposal to mitigate environmental and health risks.

Other names

  • Lead(II) sulfide
  • Lead sulphide

External links