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Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Optical Material

Cadmium telluride is a non-glass, inorganic optical material. It has a fairly high density and a fairly low heat capacity among non-glass optical ceramics. The graph bars on the material properties cards below compare cadmium telluride to other non-glass optical ceramics (top) and the entire database (bottom). A full bar means this is the highest value in the relevant set. A half-full bar means it's 50% of the highest, and so on.

Mechanical Properties

Elastic (Young's, Tensile) Modulus

45 GPa 6.5 x 106 psi

Knoop Hardness


Poisson's Ratio


Thermal Properties

Melting Onset (Solidus)

1090 °C 1990 °F

Specific Heat Capacity

210 J/kg-K 0.050 BTU/lb-°F

Thermal Conductivity

5.0 W/m-K 2.9 BTU/h-ft-°F

Thermal Expansion

5.9 µm/m-K

Otherwise Unclassified Properties


5.9 g/cm3 370 lb/ft3

Light Transmission Range

1.0 to 25 µm

Refractive Index


Common Calculations

Stiffness to Weight: Axial

4.3 points

Stiffness to Weight: Bending

20 points

Thermal Diffusivity

4.1 mm2/s

Followup Questions

Further Reading

Handbook of Optical Materials, Marvin J. Weber, 2003

Handbook of Optical Constants of Solids, Edward D. Palik (editor), 1998

CRC Materials Science and Engineering Handbook, 4th ed., James F. Shackelford et al. (editors), 2015