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What Materials Pass or Block the CO2 Laser 10.6 um Wavelength?

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"I need information on plastics which will pass and block 10,600nM far infra red from a CO2 laser. Personal experience shows Perspex (Methyl Methacrylate) blocks that wavelength extremely well and is ideal for a viewing port to watch the laser at work cutting wood, etc. But I also need a plastic (or easily machinable glass) that I can use to pass the IR with minimal attenuation so I can keep smoke and spatter off the ZnSe lenses." (From: Leonard Migliore (lm@laserk.com).) Every plastic or glass that I know of has significant absorption at 10.6 um. The only classes of materials that have good transmission at that wavelength are semiconductors such as ZnSe and ionic crystals like KCl. International Crystal Laboratories sells a product they call "Lens Saver" which appears to be a salt (KCl) window. Their phone number is 1-973-478-8944. You may experience some loss of focus quality if you put a window in front of your lens. Most CO2 cutting systems incorporate some form of air shield to ... more
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