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An optical thin film consists of one or more layers of dielectric material or metal, with individual layer thicknesses typically ranging from a few nanometers to several microns. In the case of dielectrics, these modify the reflectance and transmittance characteristics of the underlying substrate through the mechanism of optical interference, based on the exact thickness and index of refraction of each layer. Metallic coatings reflect and absorb light based on their bulk material properties (although metallic layers can also be incorporated into multi-layer dielectric coatings).ghg

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