65 E.State Street, Suit2000
Columbus, Ohio 43215
c/o Schneider Downs
Attention:Dennis R.Mowrey


"Lighting a path to the future with nano-optics."

Clear Optical Plastics

The main strength of Nalux is as an injection molder of clear optical plastics.  There are many types of clear optical plastics, and they include:  

Polycarbonate (trade name Lexan)
Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA, also just called acrylic, trade name Plexiglas)
Cyclic Polyolefins (trade name Zeonor)
Polystyrene (many trade names)
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, ABS

There are other types of clear optical plastics but these are the main ones and, in reality, only thefirst four are used on a regular basis.  The exact type used is very dependent on a large number of variables.   Clear optical plastics have a wide range of refractive index values with polycarbonate having a refractive index of about 1.6.  Clear optical plastics also have a wide range of temperature resistance and chemical resistance although chemical resistance is usually not a major concern since optical systems usually don't get exposed to severe chemical environments.  

The biggest advantage possessed by clear optical plastics over other materials is their price and processability.  Prices for glasses can be very expensive and they don't process very quickly.  Clear optical plastics are usually less than $5.00 per pound, sometimes significantly less, and they can be processed by injection molding which can easily get cycle times below one minute and potentially as fast as 30 seconds.  One of the design limitations of clear optical plastics is that as a whole they don't transmit very far down into the UV waveband, usually with transmission not getting much below 400 nm.  However, some clear optical plastics have been developed that can get down to around 200 nm although these types are very expensive and are used only when there is no other choice. 

Clear optical plastics can have one other advantage and that is that they can be made flexible.  There are silicone materials that can provide both clarity and flexibility resulting in optics that would be impossible if molded from glass.  So, clear optical plastics have a place in the world and Nalux is dedicated to providing our customers with the best plastic optics available so give us a call with your next project.