Dichroic refers to materials that are traditionally glass and display different colors depending on lighting conditions or the observer’s viewing position to the surface. The term comes from the Greek word dikhroos—which means two-colored—and dates back to the fourth century. Dichroic materials were further developed by NASA in the 1950s and 1960s for protecting astronauts and space equipment from harsh light.
Manufacturing dichroic glass involves the layering of ultra-thin glass, metals such as gold or silver, and often times oxides. These layers, which can amount up to 50 in number, produce shifting colors on a non-translucent glass. Typically, one finds dichroism in stained glass, jewelry, and glass art, while it has also recently become in demand across architecture and interior design, partially as a result of the advancement of dichroic films that are laminated between glass or plastic.