Definition of Dichroic Glass

What is the definition of dichroic glass? Stunning, dramatic, eye-catching and dazzling. Dichroic means two colors. When this glass is viewed from different angles, it appears as numerous colors.

The word "dichroic" is pronounced Dye-Cro-Ick. The name comes from two Greek roots, "di" for two and "chroma" for color. Therefore dichroic literally means two-colored. It can split a beam of light into two beams with differing wavelengths. This glass appears to be different colors when viewed from different angles or in varying degrees of illumination.

This glass is hard to describe and almost as difficult to photography its stunning beauty. It has thin layers of chromium, silicon, titanium, aluminum and zirconium depending on the color. The color isn’t in the glass, but in a coating that is put on the glass in a vacuum chamber at high temperatures. The effect of this coating resembles an oil slick on water.

In a crystal like form, Dichroic is a film that adheres to the surface of the glass. This film surface is made from a combination of metal oxides and crystal quartz. These have been vaporized in a vacuum chamber. As the glass is suspended from the roof of the chamber, it is rotated to guarantee an even layer of these vapors adhere to the glass. Various layers, quantities, and thickness are created using the identical elements to make the diverse colors.

Dichroic glass was a product created by the space industry (NASA) and was used as an interference filter. Manufacturers coat the surface of a piece of base glass with layers of metallic oxides.

Dichroic glass is formed by adding a thin film of metallic oxides which transmit some light wavelengths while reflecting other wavelengths. This causes an iridescent effect on the glass. These multiple layers of metallic oxides are applied inside a vacuum chamber. They are applied to a base glass of either clear or black. There can be at least 17 layers of interference in this glass, and can change color depending on the angle it is held at.

These layers are extremely thin. You would need an electron microscope to actually see them on the glass.

The thickness of these metallic oxides is about 1/40th of a sheet of paper. Then the oxides are fired on to the glass. There is no color produced in this process. The angle of the glass inside the vacuum chamber determines the color. You are in actuality seeing pure light being manipulated. Because of this process, you have a glass that transmits one color and reflects another.

It is very expensive to purchase. The larger sheets are 18" by 18" and can cost more than $100.00.

How do you describe the definition of dichroic glass? There is no real definition or description of its stunning beauty.

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