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Front Surface Mirrors

Mirror optics and reflective thin-film coatings

Front surface mirrors, also called first surface mirrors, are among the most important components in the field of optics. Unlike traditional mirrors, whose reflective coating lies at the back of the glass, front surface mirrors possess a reflective coating on the outside or front surface. This design offers several technical advantages that are essential in most optical applications. A primary benefit of front surface mirrors is their ability to eliminate what are commonly known as "ghost images" or multiple reflections. With conventional mirrors, the light is reflected from the back of the glass. Since the light has to pass through the glass twice, secondary reflections are created from the first surface, which superimpose the image to be reflected. This secondary reflection can cause ghosting, where the viewer perceives not only the main image but also fainter, undesirable duplicate reflections. Front surface mirrors, conversely, reflect light from the outer surface only, eliminating any secondary reflections and producing clear, distortion-free images.

As the reflective coating of a front surface mirror is directly coated onto the top of a glass substrate, such mirrors are often also called first surface mirrors. Because of their superior and precise imaging quality, front surface mirrors are used for optical systems and laser applications. They provide significantly better flatness, surface quality, and higher reflectivity than ordinary backside-coated mirrors.

Below, please find links to the datasheets of our optical mirror materials that you can order at almost any time:


SEA-VIS picture


SEA–VIS – Enhanced Aluminum Front Surface Mirror (VIS)

Our SEA-VIS front surface mirror consists of an Al-layer with multilayer dielectric overcoatings. These overcoatings are used to enhance the reflectivity and protect the aluminum thin-film coating. We mainly designed the SEA–VIS mirror for the visible wavelength range. It can also reflect low- to medium-power laser beams. This first surface mirror is the best choice for volume applications because it offers excellent performance at a low cost. We can add and modify the layers to improve the reflectivity for other specific wavelengths. Depending on the mirror thickness, we produce our SEA–VIS up to a size of approx. 800 mm × 1200 mm. More details


SEA–NIR – Enhanced Aluminum Front Surface Mirror (NIR)

The SEA–NIR front surface mirror is also Al-coated. It has a premium quality glass substrate for the best imaging quality. Like the SEA–VIS, the mirror optics feature an additional protective and reflectivity-increasing overcoating. We optimized the overcoating layers of the SEA–NIR for enhanced near-infrared reflectivity. In some applications, the SEA-NIR can even replace gold mirrors. Like the SEA-VIS, you can use the SEA–NIR as a laser front surface mirror for small to medium laser power. More details


SEA–UV – Protected Aluminum Front Surface Mirror (UV-VIS-IR)

The SEA–UV front surface mirror series has an aluminum layer protected only by an ultra-thin protective quartz glass layer (SiO2). This layer is thin enough to maintain excellent UV reflectivity and thick enough to prevent the coating from oxidizing. The mirror optics offer very broadband reflectivity up to the infrared wavelength range. We coat the SEA–UV on glass substrates with mirror quality. More details


SHP-D – Front Surface Mirror for polarized light (VIS)

We based our SHP-D front surface mirrors on high-reflection metal-free layers optimized for polarized and unpolarized light and lasers in the VIS range. More details


SHP – Silver-Metal Front Surface Mirror (VIS)

The SHP is a silver-metal-coated precision front surface mirror. It provides powerful reflectivity for polarized and unpolarized light. The mirror is based on premium-grade glass substrates and has a thin protective layer that prevents the silver coating from oxidizing. More details


SHR – Dielectric Front Surface Mirror (VIS)

The SHR first surface mirror features enormous efficiency and low absorption in the VIS wavelength range. We apply the SHR layers to premium-grade borosilicate glass substrates. The SHR is also a low-cost laser mirror with very high reflectivity. More details


SHD – Cold Mirror (VIS)

Our SHD cold mirror is heat-permeable and offers strong reflectivity in the visible wavelength range. It can separate the IR from the VIS spectrum and provides excellent imaging quality. We deposit the SHD coating on selected borosilicate glass substrates, enabling the mirror to withstand high temperatures. More details


DST – Beamsplitter Plates / Partially transmitting Mirror (VIS)

We designed the precision DST divider mirror for random polarization and optimized the partially transparent layer system of the optics for the VIS region. The divider mirror features an additional AR coating on the backside, has virtually no ghost imaging effects, and offers high image quality. More details


SIR – Heat Reflecting Hot Mirror

Our SIR heat-reflecting hot mirror can be operated as an IR front surface mirror for wavelengths up to 1100 nm and is highly transparent in the visible. We deposit the SIR multilayer coatings on premium-quality borosilicate glass materials. Besides its primary use as a heat filter, it also works in eye-tracking systems and other medical applications. More details


SIR-IR – Hot-Mirror with extended blocking range

The SIR-IR works similarly to the SIR hot mirror but has an extended reflection range in the infrared spectrum, allowing broader heat radiation blocking. The IR reflection of the SIR-IR is less effective but has a higher bandwidth than our standard SIR. More details


SUV – Ultraviolet Cold Mirror

Our SUV-UV-cold mirror offers ultraviolet reflectivity as well as heat transmission. More details


TDS - Spy Mirror – "One-Way-Mirror"–"Smart Mirror"

The TDS is a partially transmitting first-surface glass-based spy mirror that only appears transparent from one side under the right lighting conditions. More details


Are you searching for a front surface mirror you can't find here?

Don't hesitate to request a quotation for your customized optical front surface mirror optics! We can customize each front surface mirror regarding cut-on or cut-off points on a batch basis. We can use other glass substrates and add or modify thin-film coating systems to create almost any custom mirror (dielectric, gold, chrome, or other metals) to your application's exacting requirements. Please click here for additional information, help, and free support to find the best solution for your application.

Note: We do not coat mirror coatings on acrylic or plastic substrates, as they usually can't offer the imaging quality possible with glass. Also, acrylic does not withstand higher thermal loads. We generally only fabricate coated glass mirror optics. Moreover, we don't make conventional backside-coated mirror components for non-optical use. All the first surface mirror series listed on our website are in stock and available within our 48-hour express optics service, allowing shipping within two business days after receipt of your order (view details here). Each optic we make is custom-sized, so no shopping cart is required. Worldwide express shipping is also available.


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Last update: 26.09.2022