Computational machines and optical coatings in the 1950s and later

Philip Baumeister

Most Optics News' readers are familiar with optical coatings. They are applied to the lenses of SLR cameras as antireflection coatings, on the mirrors used in lasers, and on the architectural glass of buildings. Most of these coatings were designed on digital computers. This article recalls some of the tribulations of computing the spectral transmittance of such coatings in the 1950s, focusing on some of the early work in that field. Nearly all who somehow survived that era will readily agree that "the good ol' days" were not all that good.

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