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The discovery and development of scintillators have progressed alongside the understanding and applications of ionizing radiation such as x-rays, alpha particles and gamma rays. In the late nineteenth century, physicists found scintillators would illuminate in the presence of ionizing radiation; that is, they gave off visible light when bombarded with x-rays.

The unique luminescence ability of scintillators was instrumental in developing radiation detection equipment and, ultimately, the field of nuclear physics. “ What are Scintillators? How do they work?” offers a primer on the physical mechanisms that cause a scintillator’s radioluminescence.

Early scintillators were used as simple detectors for visibly…


Ever notice that when a few droplets of water land on your smartphone’s screen, they bead up as if floating on the surface? Or that fingerprints wipe away with a dry cloth, no cleaner needed? This is because the glass on most smartphones is treated with special coatings that repel water and oil. These hydrophobic (water repelling) and oleophobic or lipophobic (oil repelling) coatings are often called “self-cleaning” coatings because of how they shed water droplets and resist greasy fingerprints. …


Optical filters are used across a variety of sciences including electronics, acoustics, mechanics, chemistry and optics. Broadly defined, an optical filter is a device that allows only certain portions of a signal to pass through a device while preventing unwanted portions of the signal from passing by either absorbing, destroying or reflecting the unwanted signal.

In optics, optical filters transmit specific light wavelengths or ranges of light wavelengths. They are passive devices and the non-transmitting light wavelengths are either absorbed or rejected by the filter using the reflection and interference.

Optical filters tune light signals which makes them ideal for…


In an earlier blog post, we took a closer look at the scintillation mechanism — from the absorption of ionizing radiation to the production of light pulses within inorganic crystal materials since that’s Hilger Crystals’ area of expertise. In this post, we’ll discuss how that scintillated light is detected and transformed to a format in which it can be usefully managed.

When a scintillation crystal is excited by an external charged particle (e.g. alpha, beta, neutron, gamma radiation) it subsequently decays emitting light in all directions. It is important to direct that light towards an attached external detector to maximize…


The Dynasil family of companies delivers an extensive range of photonics-based products and capabilities. But Dynasil itself is a product of its workforce. In this Q&A, we meet Dave Montgomery, VP of Business Development at Optometrics.

Q: Tell us about your role.

Dave: As the VP of Business Development, I lead our sales team. My team and I focus on identifying new business opportunities in photonics with both new and existing customers. We do this by first seeking to understand the challenges they are facing so we can share specific ways in which Optometrics can uniquely deliver a solution. Clear…


The Dynasil family of companies delivers an extensive range of photonics-based products and capabilities. But Dynasil itself is a product of its workforce. In this Q&A, we meet Dr. Keith Hutton, Quality, Safety, Health and Environment Manager at Hilger Crystals.

Dr. Keith Hutton
Dr. Keith Hutton
Dr. Keith Hutton

Hilger Crystals has recently achieved certification for the ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Standard. In this Q&A, Dr. Keith Hutton, who drove this project over the past year, enlightens us about the certification process and the benefits to employees, customers, and suppliers.

Q: What is ISO 45001 and why is it important?

Keith: Did you know that more than…


Elevated Skin Temperature (EST) monitoring, is an extension of the field of thermography applied to measuring skin temperature. The premise of EST monitoring is to help identify one of the markers — a higher than normal skin temperature — in a person to isolate and further test them for symptoms of Sars-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19. Although a higher than normal skin temperature by no means implies that a person is infected, experts do confirm a correlation. …


The Dynasil family of companies delivers an extensive range of photonics-based products and capabilities. But Dynasil itself is a product of its workforce. In this Q&A, we meet Dino Monaco, Operations Manager at Dynasil Fused Silica.

Dino Monaco
Dino Monaco
Dino Monaco

Q: Let’s start with you telling us about your role.

Dino: As the Operations Manager at Dynasil Fused Silica (DFS), I essentially oversee the operations of each customer project — from the moment an order is received, through its fabrication, to final inspection and shipping.

DFS operations are oriented around teamwork, same as many small companies. But DFS is a team to its core…


What is an Optical Aberration?

Aberration: an unwelcome departure from the normal, usual, or expected. Most images are imperfect. Image processing software is able to detect even the slightest distortions in an image that appears ideal to the human eye. This distortion results from optical aberrations, which is the inability of a lens to replicate ideal mathematical performance. Lens designers compensate for optical aberrations with specialized optical coatings and additional lens elements, which add cost, size and weight to the final product. Selecting the best lens for an application means understanding and taking into account issues around optical aberrations.

Imaging systems work by focusing light…


Optical Material: Infrared Optics is the last article in this 5-part series of blog posts that aims to highlight the various optical materials used to design and manufacture optical components for the photonics industry.

It is an increasingly common sight to see infrared (IR) thermometers and thermal cameras in public places like airports, malls, and hospitals. These devices measure the surface temperature of an object by detecting emitted or reflected IR radiation from its surface. The hotter the object, the higher the amount of IR radiation it emits. …

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