Technology Assessment & Transfer Inc. (TA&T) leads the development and commercialization efforts for transparent polycrystalline Spinel and other optical ceramics in the United States. Benefiting from past and present support from the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and the Missile Defense Agency, transparent Spinel markets and products have advanced to become viable technical solutions with unique properties, forming capabilities and cost advantages not available in other transparent ceramic materials.
The cubic structure of Spinel makes it ideal for transparent applications requiring high strength and resistance
Transparent magnesium aluminate (MgAl2O4) ceramics, also known as transparent Spinel, have been in existence for many decades. Spinel’s suitability in transparent armor and electro-optic applications stems from its inherent hardness, stopping power and extended transmission range in mid-wave IR. Historically, the reproducible performance of Spinel has been low. However, due to continually increasing performance requirements of current and next-generation electro-optic platforms and armor systems, demand for transparent Spinel is greater now than ever before. This demand fueled innovations within TA&T affecting all areas of development: Spinel powder handling, processing and finishing technologies. Now, Spinel’s reproducible processability affords economy of scale that make it attractive for meeting the ever demanding cost targets of advanced weapons systems and commercial products.
In addition to advancing development efforts of transparent Spinel, TA&T specializes in other optical ceramics for laser gain media and scintillators. Optical ceramics such as Nd:YAG and Ti:MgAl2O4 have recently become viable materials for ceramic polycrystalline laser gain media, and advances in polycrystalline ceramics for laser applications has significant crossover with polycrystalline materials for scintillators.