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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 relative to other 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).

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 m2/s

Followup Questions

Further Reading

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

Handbook of Optical Materials, Marvin J. Weber, 2003