Refractive index database

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Optical constants of (C16H14O3)n (Polycarbonate, PC)
Zhang et al. 2020: n,k 0.4–20 µm

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: false


Normal temperature and pressure. Manufacturer: Dedicated Plastic, China.


1) X. Zhang, J. Qiu, X. Li, J. Zhao, L. Liu. Complex refractive indices measurements of polymers in visible and near-infrared bands, Appl. Opt. 59, 2337-2344 (2020) (0.4-2 µm)
2) X. Zhang, J. Qiu, J. Zhao, X. Li, L. Liu. Complex refractive indices measurements of polymers in infrared bands, J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf. 252, 107063 (2020) (2-20 µm)


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Polycarbonate (PC), (C16H14O3)n

Polycarbonate (PC, (C16H14O3)n) is a high-performance thermoplastic polymer characterized by its remarkable transparency, high impact resistance, and stability over a wide temperature range. Derived from phosgene (COCl2) and bisphenol A (or other bisphenols), its backbone incorporates carbonate groups (-O-(C=O)-O-). This structure imparts PC with its unique blend of properties. Notably, polycarbonate sheets are optically clear (with light transmission similar to glass) and are used where transparency is essential, such as in eyewear lenses, optical discs, and automotive headlights. Additionally, its excellent mechanical properties make it suitable for bulletproof windows, safety helmets, and electronic housings. However, while PC exhibits good resistance to UV radiation, it can yellow over time with prolonged exposure. It's also prone to scratching, which is why many commercial PC products, like eyeglasses, often come with an applied anti-scratch coating. In terms of its refractive properties, the inherent clarity and ability to be molded into complex shapes make polycarbonate a sought-after material for optical applications.


  • Lexan
  • Makrolon
  • Makroclear

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