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Through the Lens

Through the Lens

By North American Coating Labs
Want to know more about what goes in specialized optics? Want to know some Hollywood special effects secrets? Curious about the optics world? Learn about the final optical design process from drawing to production and beyond!
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Seeing Red

Through the Lens

Under Pressure
On this very special episode we go back to basics to answer the question: What is vacuum coating? Under Pressure will give you a solid baseline of information for a better understanding of optical thin film coating, plus we’ll share some fun facts about the song Under Pressure and take a shallow dive into one of our favorite spoofs, Space Balls!
September 03, 2021
Today we are tackling Brewster's Angle and the man behind the formula! We'll take you on a journey through the life and contributions of Sir David Brewster as well as sharing a few facts about the 1980s classic, Brewster's Millions (they are not related). Sir David Brewster had an interesting and intense life. He was a child prodigy that was educated to join the clergy, but always had a passion for optical science. Dedicating his life to the study of refraction, polarization, and reflection, Brewster was able to educate generation after generation through his writings. We'll also touch on a lighthearted invention of his (hint: its the title of the episode) as well as his beef with biologist Charles Darwin. Join us as we take a look, Through the Lens, at Sir David Brewster!
August 20, 2021
Join us for a quick look into conductive coatings including Indium Tin Oxide (ITO). We'll also go through the various deposition methods and applications for this specialized coating. Plus, one of the hosts will reveal something shocking!
August 05, 2021
Making Waves
Join us for a special episode of Through the Lens! We are exploring the life. Work, and legacy of another historical optical scientist: Thomas Young. Was he a jack of all trades and a master of none or are we missing the message of that saying? From proving Newton wrong to translating the Rosetta stone, Young had a major impact on the worlds of both optics and language. Join us to learn more. Plus, we’ll share how a common insult is actually a compliment. All this and more on this episode of Through the Lens!
July 23, 2021
Not So Heavy Metals
On this special episode of Through the Lens we take you through the murky history of the Georgia Gold rush. We also share why aluminum is one of the most attractive metals in optics. Just like werewolves, optics are not the biggest fans of silver, but it can come in handy in certain applications. We will also share the benefits of gold in optical thin film coating applications from the earth to the moon and beyond! As a special bonus, the side bar will take you to the land of Oz!
July 02, 2021
Sharks With Laser Beams
What are laser damage thresholds? How can we protect delicate and specialized optics from the harmful wavelengths? What steps should optical fabricators and coating experts take to mitigate this issues related to laser damage? We'll explore all of these on this episode of Through the Lens! Plus we'll discuss the impact of inflation on super villains as well as how sharks can be enhanced by head mounted laser beams. As a special bonus, we'll share how a military training tool became a birthday party staple! 
June 17, 2021
Wine Merchant or Optical Scientist?
Explore the life of microscopic lens pioneer Joseph Jackson Lister! Learn how being a wine merchant allowed him the flexibility to have the ultimate optical side hustle as well as how he influenced his son to change the face of surgery! Plus, I'll tell you about an ancient phenomenon called "Divine Madness" as well as make a great book recommendation! Don't miss this episode of Through the Lens!
June 04, 2021
Plants and Prisms
Join us as we take a look through the lens at the life and impact of Italian Astronomer Giovanni Battista Amici. From his birth and upbringing in Modena Italy to his work in microscopes and telescopes in Florence. We also will discuss his enthusiasm for orchids and other botanicals. Plus we will talk about the difference between Balsamic Vinegar and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar and exactly what happens when a group of botanists have a disagreement. Kelley will also make a lame joke, who are we kidding, she'll make a few!
April 29, 2021
The Father of Modern Optics
Today we take a deep dive into the life and work of Al-Haytham, the Father of Modern Optics. This 11th century mathematician and scientist was one of the first to champion the scientific method and quite literally wrote the book on optical science. Join us as we take a look, through the lens at the Kitab al-Manazir, the Book of Optics. We also will touch on our favorite Indiana Jones moments, the origins of a famous cliché about denial, and a story about a rather eccentric ruler who definitely would've been friends with Cruella DeVille. As always, you can reach out to us for more information on optical coatings! Have a specific question that you want a deep dive answer to? Connect with us at!
March 19, 2021
We'll Leave the Light On
This episode of Through the Lens is dedicated to one man and his lens. Together Dan and Kelley explore the life and work of Augustin Jean Fresnel and the lens that sits in the top of all lighthouses. From his French Revolution Jansenism Catholic upbringing to making functional weapons before age 10, and his development of a lens that sort of kind of already existed; you don't want to miss this episode! Plus you'll learn how Broadway and optical science come together. Also, did you hear the story about the briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Sit back and enjoy this action packed episode of Through the Lens!
March 05, 2021
IR's Precious Substrates
Although many materials could be used for photonic applications in the IR. Only a select few are used in IR imaging and optical systems. Join us as we take a look, Through the Lens, at some of the precious and rare materials used in infrared applications. Here's a hint, one of the materials is sapphire and Kelley couldn't help but do a few shallow dives into a few famous sapphires! Learn a little bit about IR applications and the optical materials used as well as how the crown jewels are connected to the American Revolution! All this and more on this episode of Through the Lens!
February 19, 2021
Harder Better Faster Stronger
From military tactical displays to the world of Tron, visors have made major impact on our world.  But how do manufacturers turn a curved piece of plastic into a fully functional visor? What optical coatings can be used to enhance these visors? Join us on this episode of Through the Lens and discover how gold protects pilots and how a couple guys from France transformed the EDM music scene with a few masks. Along the way we'll share technical information, talk about some fun pop culture applications of optical coatings for visors, and share some highly relatable plot lines hidden within blockbuster action movies! Want to learn more? Visit!
February 05, 2021
Keep it Clean
What does metal forging and optical coating have in common? You gotta have a clean substrate to have end product success! Join us in our season premiere as we discuss the importance of proper cleaning and packaging as well as recommended methods to ensure the best final coated lens! Well also talk about extreme cleaning, why you shouldn’t put spices in soap, and what happens when you dip a knife made out of multiple metals in acid! Have more questions about cleaning or want to connect with us? Visit!
January 22, 2021
Life is a Highway
We’ve got something special for all you gearheads on the season finale of Through the Lens! We complete our series on Planes, Trains, and Automobiles by taking a nice drive down the highway of optical coatings in automotive applications! Plus we’ll talk emerging automotive tech, head banging, and Wayne’s World! You don’t want to skip this episode!
December 11, 2020
All Aboard!
We continue our series on Planes, Trains, and Automobiles! This week we look at training and development in the optical engineering world! Don’t worry, we have some fun facts about trains, board games, and action movies too. Join us as we take a look, Through the Lens, at training!
November 20, 2020
Way of the Future
Welcome to our new series! Planes, Trains, and Automobiles! On this episode we focus on the optical coatings that are used in aircraft applications! From ITO to Gold to Polysiloxane, the world of optical coatings and aviation are intertwined. Plus, we’ll share some fun facts about Howard Hughes, the Spruce Goose, and the movie The Aviator! You don’t want to miss this one!
November 02, 2020
Protect Your Plastics!
High touch plastic surfaces are in danger from every day wear and tear from chemicals, sunscreen, bug sprays, debris. What can you do to keep them safe? Dip-applied hardcoating is your answer! But how does dip coating work? And what does protective coating have to do with Robocop? Take a look, Through the Lens at protective dip-applied coating.
October 16, 2020
Coatings in Space: The Sequel
Where we’re going we don’t need roads! We couldn’t help ourselves! We wanted to share a little more about optical coatings in the vacuum of space! Learn a little bit about laser damage and why gold is so important to NASA! Plus we’ll talk about favorite Sci-fi movies and organ printing! You won’t want to miss it!
October 02, 2020
Space: The Final Frontier
It’s time to blast off for part one of our 2 part series: Coatings In Space! On this episode of Through the Lens we will look at coatings that are well suited for Space. We will focus on coatings that exist within the safety of a space craft. Of course you know we have some pop culture facts as Kelley try’s to cram in as many Sci Fi references as possible! I believe she does 4 in the intro alone! More importantly you’ll learn something new about space coating applications! Join us as we begin our look at coatings in space!
September 15, 2020
Hydrophobic Coatings
Greek Mythology, 90s classic family films, comic books, and wizards come together to teach you about hydrophobic coatings! This coating technology touches nearly everyone because their main function...protecting touchscreen displays from finger prints!
August 28, 2020
That’s Abrasive Part 3
What does the highest grossing meat product have to do with a standard auto feature? And why are we talking about either when we should be talking about optical coatings? Take a 3 minute break and look Through the Lens at part 3 of our 3 part series on optical coating durability.
August 14, 2020
That’s Abrasive Part 2
What do the 1996 Olympics have to do with Goodyear? Find out on That’s Abrasive Part 2! This is part 2 of our 3 part series on coating durability requirements is dedicated to Severe Abrasion! Learn a little bit about the MIL-Spec surrounding severe abrasion and all about the erasers used to test the spec! Want to learn more about coating specifications? Connect with the experts at!
July 31, 2020
That’s Abrasive Part 1
Curious how durable optical coatings are? Well we have the series for you! That’s Abrasive Parts 1-3 will explain the specifications for coating durability. From moderate to extreme testing, we’ll dive into how designers test their coatings and what makes them so strong! Part 1 will take you through moderate abrasion in 5 minutes or less! As always if you have further questions, you can always connect with the experts at!
July 17, 2020
Mirror Mirror
From reflections in pools of water to high powered reflectors in outer space, mirrors play a big role in our daily lives! But how do we make modern mirrors? What materials are used? What are their applications? And how did a mirror, a poisoned apple, and a princess lead to Dorothy traveling to the land of Oz? The optical experts at NACL are ready to tell you all about optical mirrors! For more info visit!
July 06, 2020
Micro Episode: Optical Fibers
Have five minutes to spare to learn a little bit about one of the most versatile optics in the world? Sit back, relax, and enjoy a minisode dedicated to optical fibers! Bonus: we’re also going to talk about the 1999 hit, The Mummy!
June 19, 2020
The Mother of Invention
Having the right tool or tooling for the job is essential for success! To learn a little more about how tooling plays a part in optical coating, take a listen! Learn about materials, handling, and what Tupperware and foxes have to do with tooling!
May 29, 2020
But First, Let Me Get a Selfie
Anti reflective coatings are the bread and butter of the optical thin film coating world! Every coating lab and eyeglass lens company has one, but what goes into them? How do they work? And what exactly is the difference between anti-reflective and anti-glare? Find out on Through the Lens!
April 24, 2020
Seeing Red
We’ll walk through the basics of infrared optics and see how infrared is used in the world of spectral entertainment!
April 08, 2020
What’s So Special About Specifications
Take a crash course of optical coating specifications from industry leaders at North American Coating Labs! What sort of testing is required to pass a MIL-spec.? What is a MIL-spec? How does Apple test phone screens? Listen and learn more!
March 26, 2020
March 24, 2020
March 24, 2020