Fused quartz, fused silica or quartz glass is a glass consisting of almost pure silica (silicon dioxide, SiO2) in amorphous (non-crystalline) form. This differs from all other commercial glasses in which other ingredients are added which change the glasses' optical and physical properties, such as lowering the melt temperature. Fused quartz, therefore, has high working and melting temperatures, making it less desirable for most common applications.
The terms fused quartz and fused silica are used interchangeably, but can refer to different manufacturing techniques, as noted below, resulting in different trace impurities. However fused quartz, being in the glassy state, has quite different physical properties compared to crystalline quartz. Due to its physical properties it finds specialty uses in semiconductor fabrication and laboratory equipment, for instance.
Compared to other common glasses, the optical transmission of pure silica extends well into the ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths, so is used to make lenses and other optics for these wavelengths. Depending on manufacturing processes, impurities will restrict the optical transmission, resulting in commercial grades of fused quartz optimized for use in the infrared, or (then more often referred to as fused silica) in the ultraviolet. The low coefficient of thermal expansion of fused quartz makes it a useful material for precision mirror substrates.