Transparent Ceramics at 50: Progress Made and Further Prospects
Fifty years have elapsed from the moment the first light transmitting ceramic‐based commercial item—a sodium vapor‐based street lamp component—reached the market. This paper intends to be a brief chronicle (albeit not a chronology) of this first half century of translucent and transparent ceramic history. The main ceramic materials now available in a transparent state are presented and their main applications are described. Applications range from aerospace and relativistic optics to medical care, supermarket shopping, and modern warfare. Light transmitting ceramics usable as laser gain‐media, armor windows, IR domes, phosphors, scintillators, and electro‐optical components have been developed. The principal achievements this research produced are discussed. Processing strategies for full densification have been devised and quantitative relationships were established between different microstructural features such as amount and size distribution of porosity or level of birefringence, and the level of electromagnetic radiation attenuation they cause. Future prospects list ends the paper.
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