Expert in thin film optical coatings, our infrared multilayer laboratory (IML) is engaged in the research, development and supply of specialist high-quality infrared optics ranging from coatings for single optical components to the complete spectral design and manufacture of complex atmospheric sensing and ground-based astronomical instruments. The laboratory has a spaceflight heritage of contributions to many of the most progressive scientific instrument programmes in the study of atmospheric and planetary science.

The IML is available to design and manufacture custom infrared optics across the 2 to 45µm waveband to your specification on a wide variety of substrate materials and sizes. Our team of highly skilled engineers operate in a research and development environment to deliver spaceflight quality high-performance filters and coatings across the mid-infrared region, most often for use at cryogenic temperatures.

IML in action

Thin-film optical filter research at the IML is a unique and enabling technology that permits astronomers and meteorologists to gather data leading to increased understanding of atmospheric and astrophysical phenomena. Infrared filters are the key optical components in many satellite telescopes for Earth observation, planetary research probes and infrared astronomy. They form the eyes of the instrument to separate light into wavebands in order to measure temperature, gas composition, water vapour, dust clouds and aerosols. This data is used to generate accurate atmospheric and environmental circulation models for global climate studies, and measure properties of the universe for stellar and planetary formation theories.

The Infrared Multilayer Laboratory is recognised as a world leading facility in the field of optical thin-film engineering for state-of-the-art astronomy and planetary remote-sensing. Recent instruments include: European Space Agency’s Planet EarthCARE Multi-Spectral Imager (MSI); NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO); ISRO SAV Indian national Satellite (INSAT-3D) radiometer; and the NASA/ESA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI).

What we do

We manufacture custom-made coatings to your specification on a wide variety of substrate materials and sizes to suit. Some of the fully-blocked filter types that we routinely manufacture in the 2-45µm range are:

  • narrow bandpass filters
  • wide bandpass filters
  • longwave-pass edge filters
  • shortwave-pass edge filters
  • dielectric broadband mirror
  • broadband antireflection coatings
  • single wavelength antireflection coatings


Laboratory Manager

+44 (0) 1865 272902