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Proceedings Paper

Silvering substrates after CO2 snow cleaning
Author(s): Richard R. Zito
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Paper Abstract

There have been some questions in the astronomical community concerning the quality of silver coatings deposited on substrates that have been cleaned with carbon dioxide snow. These questions center around the possible existence of carbonate ions left behind on the substrate by CO2. Such carbonate ions could react with deposited silver to produce insoluble silver carbonate, thereby reducing film adhesion and reflectivity. Carbonate ions could be produced from CO2 via the following mechanism. First, during CO2 snow cleaning, a small amount of moisture can condense on a surface. This is especially true if the jet of CO2 is allowed to dwell on one spot. CO2 gas can dissolve in this moisture, producing carbonic acid, which can undergo two acid dissociations to form carbonate ions. In reality, it is highly unlikely that charged carbonate ions will remain stable on a substrate for very long. As condensed water evaporates, Le Chatelier's principle will shift the equilibrium of the chain of reactions that produced carbonate back to CO2 gas. Furthermore, the hydration of CO2 reaction of CO2 with H20) is an extremely slow process, and the total dehydrogenation of carbonic acid is not favored. Living tissues that must carry out the equilibration of carbonic acid and CO2 use the enzyme carbonic anhydrase to speed up the reaction by a factor of one million. But no such enzymatic action is present on a clean mirror substrate. In short, the worst case analysis presented below shows that the ratio of silver atoms to carbonate radicals must be at least 500 million to one. The results of chemical tests presented here support this view. Furthermore, film lift-off tests, also presented in this report, show that silver film adhesion to fused silica substrates is actually enhanced by CO2 snow cleaning.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 August 2005
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5870, Advances in Thin-Film Coatings for Optical Applications II, 587006 (20 August 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.612879
Show Author Affiliations
Richard R. Zito, Richard R. Zito R & D Corp. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5870:
Advances in Thin-Film Coatings for Optical Applications II
Michael L. Fulton; Jennifer D. T. Kruschwitz, Editor(s)

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