An optical diffuser can be defined as an element that evenly scatters light by minimizing or removing high-intensity spots. In simpler words, it is a refractive element with a random surface profile. These surfaces are produced by advanced processes such as holographic exposure, lithography, and sandblasting. Optical diffusers are mainly used to soften or give the desired shape to illumination as per the requirement.
Working Principle: Optical Diffusers majorly work on two principles—Principle of Reflection and Principle of Refraction. When any external light strikes the diffuser, it converts the incident light beam into scattered rays. Later, the reflected light is formed on either sides of the normal plane and the image is formed using the second principle. However, it is the position of the diffuser that will decide the ‘quality of picture’ produced.
Types of Optical Diffusers: With applications ranging from imaging to projector screens, it is important to understand which diffuser type is apt for your business.
- Holographic Diffuser: These optical diffusers are created through holographic etching on polycarbonate material such as liquid glass or fused silica. These diffusers are used to diffuse the illumination of filament in devices like lamps, LEDs, and arc lamps. However, it’s important to note that over-illumination of diffusers can result in additional costs on higher power illumination sources, lenses, and filters.
- White Glass Diffuser: These diffusers are made from semi-opaque glass to create illumination profiles. While holographic and ground glass diffusers use coated or laminated materials, this diffuser is made from White Diffusing Glass – a solid material used for any kind of orientation. It is an ideal choice for creating illumination in an attenuator or a viewing screen.
- Ground Glass Diffusers: These diffusers are considered as an optical window that is sandblasted to produce a rough surface. The roughness of the surface decides the transmission efficiency and thereby, allows a wider diffusion patterning.
Applications of Optical Diffusers: Optical diffuser is an important application of optics that is used in various disciplines including photography, medicine, astrology, engineering, and many more. Additionally, the technical applications of diffusers are bar code scanning, imaging systems, material processing, optical sensing, inspections, monitoring and computer screens, and other monitors.
Recent advances in optical components have enhanced the efficiency, capabilities, and functionalities of the diffusers. So with this, the scope of the optics industry continues to change while expanding its roots into different disciplines.