Silver has the highest reflectance of all of the metals, but it tarnishes in the presence of sulfides, chlorides, and oxides in the atmosphere. Also, the silver reflectance is very low at wavelengths below 400 nm making aluminum more desirable mirror coating for the UV region. We have found a way to prevent silver tarnishing by sandwiching the silver layer between two thin layers of NiCrNx , and to extend the metal’s high reflectance down to 200 nm by depositing the (thin) Ag layer on top of Al. Thus, the uv is transmitted through the thin Ag layer below 400 nm wavelength, and is reflected from the Al layer underneath. This UV-shifted durable coating1 provides a valuable alternative to the aluminum coating for telescope mirror coatings where collection efficiency is an important consideration.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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