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MgF2 Characteristics & Transmission Curve

Magnesium Fluoride (MgF2) is used for optical elements in both the infrared and ultraviolet. Its useful transmission range is from 0.19µm to 6.5µm. The refractive index varies from about 1.48 to 1.3. Magnesium Fluoride is a bi-refringence material and this aspect should be taken into consideration before selection of this material in an optical design. The VUV grade material, with the C-axis oriented is used to minimize birefringence. Irradiation does not lead to color centers. This VUV material is the least susceptible to radiation induced color centers.

Magnesium Fluoride is one of the lowest index infrared materials, second only to Lithium Fluoride. It is resistant to thermal and mechanical shock. The material is twice as hard as Calcium Fluoride but only half as hard as Germanium. Magnesium Fluoride is significantly more expensive than Calcium Fluoride and Barium Fluoride, but usually not more expensive than Lithium Fluoride. Magnesium Fluoride is similar to Calcium Fluoride in its resistance to water.



  Transmission Range

 0.121µm to 7.0µm


 3.177 g/cm3

  Thermal Expansion

 13.7 x 10-6 /°C Parallel to C-axis


 8.48 x 10-6 /°C Perpendicular to C-axis

  Surface Finish

Polishes of 10-5, or 20-10 scratch-dig are achieved at extra costs respectively mainly for UV applications. Typical specifications for surface quality in the visible & near infrared regions are a 40-20 & 60-40 scratch dig in the 3 to 7µm range. MgF2 is diamond turnable.

  Surface Figure

In the UV & Visible spectral regions, surface figure ranges from 1/10 wave to 1/2 wave @ 0.6328µm. In the infrared, typical required surface figure ranges from 1/2 wave to 2 waves @ 0.6328µm & are specified depending on the system performance requirements.

  AR Coating Options

Magnesium Fluoride can be AR coated for use in the infrared but generally without much improvement in transmission due to its low index of refraction & already high transmission.

  Typical Applications

Thermal imaging, Astronomical, Excimer laser applications.

  Products Manufactured

Lenses, Aspheric lenses, Windows, Optical Beamsplitters, Optical Filters, Wedges, Prisms.

MgF2 Index of Refraction

MgF2 Transmission Curve