Abstract

We thoroughly and critically review studies reporting the real (refractive index) and imaginary (absorption index) parts of the complex refractive index of silica glass over the spectral range from 30nm to 1000μm. The general features of the optical constants over the electromagnetic spectrum are relatively consistent throughout the literature. In particular, silica glass is effectively opaque for wavelengths shorter than 200nm and larger than 3.54.0μm. Strong absorption bands are observed (i) below 160nm due to the interaction with electrons, absorption by impurities, and the presence of OH groups and point defects; (ii) at 2.732.85, 3.5, and 4.3μm also caused by OH groups; and (iii) at 99.5, 12.5, and 2123μm due to Si―O―Si resonance modes of vibration. However, the actual values of the refractive and absorption indices can vary significantly due to the glass manufacturing process, crystallinity, wavelength, and temperature and to the presence of impurities, point defects, inclusions, and bubbles, as well as to the experimental uncertainties and approximations in the retrieval methods. Moreover, new formulas providing comprehensive approximations of the optical properties of silica glass are proposed between 7 and 50μm. These formulas are consistent with experimental data and substantially extend the spectral range of 0.217μm covered by existing formulas and can be used in various engineering applications.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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