Mirror mounts are used to hold and support mirrors of all sizes and shapes. Mirror mounting can be a very sophisticated device in optic research, due to the need to be able to tip and tilt the mirror by controlled amounts, while still holding it in a precise position where it is not being adjusted. There are many types of mirrors that are used for mirror mounts. Examples include laser mirrors, parabolic mirrors, optic mirrors, and flat mirrors. Laser mirrors are designed for high reflectance and durability at individual laser wavelength ranges and are used on the surface of solid-state lasers including alexandrite, Nd-glass, ruby, and YAG types. Parabolic mirrors offer excellent correction of spherical aberration and can be either be on-axis or off-axis. On-axis parabolic mirrors produce collimated reflected light and off-axis parabolic mirrors focus reflected light to a focal point off-axis. Flat mirrors are smooth, highly polished, flat surfaces, for reflecting light. The actual reflecting surface is usually a thin coating of silver, aluminum, or other material. Most flat mirrors are coated, and then over coated a second time to add a level of scratch resistance. Optic mirrors are commonly called front surface or first surface mirrors as the light is reflected off the coated surface without passing through the glass. Optical flats are precisely polished flat surfaced devices used as references against which the flatness of an unknown surface may be compared. When the polished surface of optical flats are placed in contact with a test surface, and viewed with a monochromatic light, an interference pattern of dark and light bands can be discerned. Other types of mirrors that can be used for mirror mounts are commonly available.
Mirrors mounts use mirrors which are produced in a variety of materials. The material used influences the reflectivity characteristics of the mirror. These materials include BK7 glass, copper, fused silica, nickel, optical crown glass, and UV grade fused silica. Common coatings for laser mirrors include aluminum in a variety of forms, gold, rhodium and silver. Silver is one of the best options since it does not oxide. Optical flats tend to lose some of their precision with repeated use. Optical flats can be refinished or resurfaced, which will return them to their original level of functionality. A mirror mount is available with circular, square, or rectangular holding fixtures based upon the type of component it is designed to mount. Mirror mounts have adjustable optical axis height, orthogonal tip-tilt adjustments, and a non-obscuring custom mirror cell.
Mirror mounts are generally used for mounting antennas onto the mirror arms of trucks; however they can be used on other vehicles such as camper vans and even motorbikes, anywhere with a suitable "bar" to clamp against. Optical mirrors mounts are versatile optical components which are used in many applications such as the inspection of gauge blocks for wear and accuracy, as well as the testing of various components including windows, prisms, filters, and mirrors. Mirror mounts can also be used as extremely flat optical windows for demanding interferometer requirements. Mirror mounts are used with parabolic and flat mirrors to optimize the optical performance of optical systems. Mirror Mounts should adhere to certification of accuracy traceable to The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).