Advanced materials for LED optics

Published by Optics for Hire.

Since the start of the LED lighting revolution plastic optics have been made primarily from acrylic (PMMA), polycarbonate or a modified version of either material (for example PMMI). More recently silicon-based optical materials have grown market share.  These silicone resins are suitable for precise molding and can be used for refractive lenses, TIR lenses, reflectors, diffusers and other optical components.

Key advantages of silicone resins include:

  • Resistance to UV light

  • Transmission more than 90% up to 350 nm

  • Usable in temperatures above 150°C, (acrylic deteriorates after 90° C, and polycarbonate after 30° C)

  • Allows optical designs use thicker parts rather than polymer

  • Less yellowing

  • Lighter weight

  • Better impact resistance than polymers

  • Good chemical resistance: it resist acids, bases, solvents, chemicals, oils and water

  • Very accurate reproduction of detailed shapes and features, such as optical surfaces, sharp edges and small radii


. Source Dow Corning

. Source Dow Corning


This test image above shows Methyl Silicone, a  Dow Corning® MS-1002 and MS-1003 material 
and Poly Carbondate and PMMA aging. 

Source: Gaggione

Source: Gaggione

Complex design streetlight  silicone lens made by Gaggione