ZERODUR® glass-ceramic milestones

ZERODUR® glass-ceramic has been ahead of its time for half a century. A lasting favorite. A material whose success story continues to be written. This material has been around for 50 years, delivering great performance in more than just the field of astronomy. The name says it all: virtually zero thermal expansion. ZERODUR® glass-ceramic is ideal for high-tech applications – in astronomy, IC lithography, metrology, flat panel display production and more.

But where does ZERODUR® glass-ceramic gets its superpowers? The material is made of crystalline and residual glass phases, which together enable extremely low, near-zero coefficients of thermal expansion. In addition, the thermal expansion is highly homogeneous. Even with large parts, fluctuations in mechanical and thermal properties are hardly detectable, ideally suiting the material for optics with special requirements in precision and temperature stability.

Recent work on the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) in Chile shows what that means in practice. SCHOTT is producing 949 round discs made of ZERODUR® glass-ceramic for the primary mirror and spare parts of the largest telescope on earth. The primary mirror’s 798 total hexagons will be arranged to align the segment borders within the range of the wavelength of light, half a micrometer band for a 39 m structure. ZERODUR® provides the thermal stability to do this. That’s extremely extraordinary.
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