Thin-Film Optical Filters: 4th Edition (Hardback) book cover

Thin-Film Optical Filters

4th Edition

By H. Angus MacLeod, H. Angus Macleod

CRC Press

800 pages | 16 Color Illus. | 383 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781420073027
pub: 2010-03-16
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429136511
pub: 2010-03-16
from $28.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


Written by a world-renowned authority of optical coatings, Thin-Film Optical Filters, Fourth Edition presents an introduction to thin-film optical filters for both manufacturers and users. The preeminent author covers an assortment of design, manufacture, performance, and application topics. He also includes enough of the basic mathematics of optical thin films to enable readers to carry out thin-film calculations.

This new edition of a bestseller retains most of the descriptions of older design techniques because of their importance in understanding how designs work. However, this edition includes a substantial amount of new material as well. A new chapter on color takes into account the increasing importance of color in optical coatings. In addition, a new section discusses the effects of gain in optical coatings.

This comprehensive yet accessible book continues to offer valuable insight into the principles, techniques, and processes of successful coating design. It provides the sound foundation required to make further advances in the field.


The book by Angus Macleod is the fourth edition of the famous textbook written by a world-renowned authority in the field of optical coating. This new edition retains most of the descriptions of older design techniques but also includes a substantial amount of new material. … The book is an excellent treatise of thin film coatings, explaining how to produce all sorts of different filters selected according to the function they are required to play. … The book is an indispensable text for every filter manufacturer and user and is an excellent guide for students.

—Mario Bertolotti, Contemporary Physics, April 2012

Praise for the Third Edition:

… essential reading for all those involved in the design, manufacture, and application of optical coatings. … a valuable addition to many bookshelves.

Materials World, September 2001

… continues to be a very practical guide.

ASLIB Book Guide

The third edition is no less rich and includes expanded references and information on many advances in design and technology since the second edition was published in 1986 … a must-have addition to the library of any optical thin-film theorist or practitioner. It provides extensive methods to use in achieving desired optical performance for a broad range of coating types and extensive references for one to use in delving deeper into these topics.

—Dale E. Morton, Denton Vacuum, LLC, SVC News

It is obvious from the details of his career that Angus knows more about optical coatings, both in terms of design and of fabrication, than most of us put together. It is therefore quite expected that I feel free to state that, in my opinion, this book is a necessity, rather on par with having the use of a coating facility, a good coating program, and a fast computer, for anybody in the field of thin-film optical coatings and filters. Therefore, if you are new in this field, your first priority should be to make sure that you have the undivided use of a copy of this book. … All in all, the book is a good statement of the state of the art of thin-film deposition theory and practice at the turn of the millennium.

—Roger M. Wood, Elsevier

Table of Contents


Early History

Thin-Film Filters

Basic Theory

Maxwell’s Equations and Plane Electromagnetic Waves

The Simple Boundary

The Reflectance of a Thin Film

The Reflectance of an Assembly of Thin Films

Reflectance, Transmittance, and Absorptance


Summary of Important Results

Potential Transmittance

A Theorem on the Transmittance of a Thin-Film Assembly


Incoherent Reflection at Two or More Surfaces

Theoretical Techniques

Quarter- and Half-Wave Optical Thicknesses

Admittance Loci

Electric Field and Losses in the Admittance Diagram

The Vector Method

The Herpin Index

Alternative Method of Calculation

Smith’s Method of Multilayer Design

The Smith Chart

Reflection Circle Diagrams

Antireflection Coatings

Antireflection Coatings on High-Index Substrates

Antireflection Coatings on Low-Index Substrates

Equivalent Layers

Antireflection Coatings for Two Zeros

Antireflection Coatings for the Visible and the Infrared

Inhomogeneous Layers

Further Information

Neutral Mirrors and Beam Splitters

High-Reflectance Mirror Coatings

Neutral Beam Splitters

Neutral-Density Filters

Multilayer High-Reflectance Coatings

The Fabry–Perot Interferometer

Multilayer Dielectric Coatings


Edge Filters

Thin-Film Absorption Filters

Interference Edge Filters

Band-Pass Filters

Broadband-Pass Filters

Narrowband Filters

Multiple Cavity Filters

Higher Performance in Multiple-Cavity Filters

Phase Dispersion Filter

Multiple Cavity Metal–Dielectric Filters

Measured Filter Performance

Tilted Coatings

Modified Admittances and the Tilted Admittance Diagram

Application of the Admittance Diagram


Nonpolarizing Coatings

Antireflection Coatings


Optical Tunnel Filters

Color in Optical Coatings

Color Definition

The 1964 Supplementary Colorimetric Observer


Other Color Spaces

Hue and Chroma

Brightness and Optimal Stimuli

Colored Fringes

Production Methods and Thin-Film Materials

The Production of Thin Films

Measurement of the Optical Properties

Measurement of the Mechanical Properties


Summary of Some Properties of Common Materials

Factors Affecting Layer and Coating Properties

Microstructure and Thin-Film Behavior

Sensitivity to Contamination

Layer Uniformity and Thickness Monitoring


Substrate Preparation

Thickness Monitoring and Control


Specification of Filters and Environmental Effects

Optical Properties

Physical Properties

System Considerations: Applications of Filters and Coatings

Potential Energy Grasp of Interference Filters

Narrowband Filters in Astronomy

Atmospheric Temperature Sounding

Order Sorting Filters for Grating Spectrometers

Glare Suppression Filters and Coatings

Some Coatings Involving Metal Layers

Other Topics

Rugate Filters

Ultrafast Coatings

Automatic Methods

Gain in Optical Coatings

Photonic Crystals

Characteristics of Thin-Film Dielectric Materials



References appear at the end of each chapter.

About the Authors

H. Angus Macleod is President of the Thin Film Center Inc. in Tucson, Arizona, and Professor Emeritus of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona.

About the Series

Series in Optics and Optoelectronics

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: