Applying anti-reflective coating to eyeglass lenses is a highly technical process involving vacuum deposition technology.
The first step in the AR coating process is to meticulously clean the lenses and inspect them for visible and microscopic surface defects. Even a tiny smudge, piece of lint or hairline scratch on a lens during the coating process can cause a defective AR coating.
Typically, a production line includes multiple washing and rinsing baths, including ultrasonic cleaning to remove any traces of surface contaminants. This is followed by air drying and heating of the lenses in special ovens to further remove unwanted moisture and gases from the lens surface.
The lenses are then loaded into special metal racks with spring-loaded openings so the lenses are held securely but with virtually all lens surfaces exposed for the coating application. The racks are then loaded into the coating chamber. The door of the chamber is sealed, and the air is pumped out of the chamber to create a vacuum.
While the lens racks are rotating in the coating chamber, a power source within the machine focuses a beam of electrons onto a small crucible that contains a series of metal oxides in separate compartments. When the coating materials are bombarded by electrons, they vaporize within the coating chamber and adhere to the surfaces of the lenses, creating a uniform, microscopically thin optical layer on the lens.
Some eyeglass lenses have factory-applied AR coating on both lens surfaces. Other lenses, particularly progressive lenses and other multifocal lenses, have the coating applied after the lenses have been customized to your eyeglass prescription by HB Optical Lab.
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