Insights from industry

Using Infrared Filters in Astronomy and Climate Monitoring

Why are you exhibiting at Photonex Europe 2019?

We like to exhibit at Photonex Europe and support the only main UK show for Photonics and optical applications. It’s a great place to catch up with contacts and generate new leads. I’ve personally attended Photonex for 23 years, bringing along coating machines and even running coating processes on the stand in previous years.

Henry and I attended Photonex for the first time as Brinell Vision in 2010, having just registered the company two weeks beforehand. So, next year will be a big birthday for us at the show.

Image Credits: Brinell Vision

Can you give us an overview of the functionality and design of your infrared filters?

Infra-red filters have generally utilized rare-earth materials along with deposition systems, which require high power usage over long production times.

Brinell Vision has been developing new deposition methods utilizing environmentally sustainable materials, along with the latest electronic switch-mode power supply designs. These not only dramatically reduce power consumption in filter production but also have resulted in dense, high-hardness, non-porous, and high-performance filters for applications such as astronomy and space sensors.

How are Brinell Vision’s infrared filters used in astronomy and climate monitoring?

Image Credits: Brinell Vision

Terrestrial installations of our high-performance filters include the Gemini-8m telescopes, instruments at the Institute of Astronomy Hawaii and Mount Palomar. Recently, we have also been working with the Institute of Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias on a unique filter technology.

The Indian Space research institute has adopted our Mid-IR optical filter technology for geostationary satellite sensors, which detect cloud patterns and storm systems in six spectral bands from space. The ISRO satellites were used in May 2019 to predict the landfall position of a dangerous cyclone forming in the Southern Indian Ocean, allowing the evacuation of over one million people from those areas. Without this technology, a similar cyclone in 1999 claimed close to 10,000 lives.

How are your laser protection solutions used in current medical technology?

One of our first products was a laser protection filter for green laser therapy, which was used in PVP (Photoselective Vaporization therapy). The main problem with using green lasers is that the wavelength is in the center of the Photopic vision of the eye. Standard laser filters tend to either remove color recognition or severely hamper it. We were able to develop filters that not only blocked the laser wavelength but also ‘rebalanced’ the color seen by the surgeon depending on the lighting used.

We have also developed technology for the deposition of precision filters onto 125micron optical fiber facets. These are used in the latest High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) cancer treatments.

Additionally, we have worked with the NHS to develop better solutions for lower-cost laser protection eyewear used in Holmium and Nd:YAG surgery.

Are you able to customize your products to your consumers’ needs?

Although we have a range of standard products, more than 50% of our products are customer-specific and developed by us.

Of course, they are sometimes based on an iteration of designs we have previously produced. However, several projects began with a blank piece of paper and required developing from the ground up. This included the development of circular variable filters for visible and NIR light, plus a range of Mid-IR filters for space applications.

How do you think the use of your products will advance future product development and improvement?

ATLASNUBE / Shutterstock

We have spent more than five years developing coated plastic products for applications such as NVIS and laser protection. Generally, plastics aren’t used in precision optics due to problems with stability and durability; however, our processes are proving themselves to outperform customer expectations. They will allow customers to not only reduce weight in critical applications but also provide some beneficial properties in terms of mechanical safety.

We have used this work to develop special low-weight laser & HEV blue-light protection eyewear (including corrective prescription within the filters) for aircraft pilots, including police, emergency services, and even commercial pilots.

What makes Brinell Vision and its products unique?

We are a small company focussed on small to medium size production, so we can offer our customers a personal service in finding solutions for the performance optimization of their products.

Image Credits: Brinell Vision


About Adam Brierly, MSc CPhys - Commercial Director

Adam Brierley is the joint founder and Director of Brinell Vision Limited. He graduated from Applied Physics at Liverpool J M University and went on to study his Masters in Advanced Engineering Technology from the University of Salford.

Adam has been involved in the development and market introduction of world-class optical thin film technologies for more than 15 years as the European Product Manager for Balzers & Leybold Optics, and Managing Director at Satis Vacuum (Satisloh). He also worked for five years as Commercial Director of Siltint Thin Film Technologies, working in areas of laser optics, display optics, night vision, and fluorescence microscopy.

Adam is a Chartered Physicist and committee member of the Ion and Plasma Surface Interactions group at the Institute of Physics.

About Henry Orr, BSc CPhys - Technical Director

Henry Orr is the co-founder and Director of Brinell Vision Limited and has 30 years of experience in the design and manufacture of optical thin film coatings.

Henry graduated in Applied Physics from Strathclyde University and is a Chartered Physicist, specializing in vacuum deposition processes and optical applications. He also co-authored several papers on the development of IR thin film optical filter technology for astronomy and space applications.

Henry has designed & developed optical filters & coatings for many demanding applications including laser applications, multi-spectral vision systems, and aviation/spaceflight systems.

Formerly with OCLI Optical Coatings, Pilkington Optronics (Principal Technologist in Advanced Coatings), and as head of NDC Infrared’s Thin Film Optics Division, he has specialized in innovative applications of optical thin film coatings.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

Zoe Peterkin

Written by

Zoe Peterkin

Upon graduating from the University of Exeter with a BSc Hons. in Zoology, Zoe worked for a market research company, specialising in project management and data analysis. After a three month career break spent in Australia and New Zealand, she decided to head back to her scientific roots with AZoNetwork. Outside of work, Zoe enjoys going to concerts and festivals as well as trying to fit in as much travelling as possible!

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