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Proceedings Paper

Optical properties of sulfur copolymers for infrared applications
Author(s): Soha Namnabat; Jared J. Gabriel; Jeffrey Pyun; Robert A. Norwood
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Paper Abstract

The development of organic polymers with high refractive indices has been widely investigated, as a possible alternative to inorganic metal oxide, semiconductor, or chalcogenide-based materials for a variety of optical devices and components, such as waveguides, anti-reflective coatings, charge-coupled devices and fiber optic cables. In principle, organic-based polymers are attractive for these applications because of their low weight, ease of processing, mechanical toughness, and facile chemical variation using commercially available precursors. However, one of the fundamental challenges associated with organic polymers is their generally low refractive indices in comparison to their inorganic counterparts. Herein we report on the optical characterization of a new class of sulfur copolymers that are readily moldable, transparent above 500nm, possess high refractive index (n < 1.8) and take advantage of the low infrared absorption of S‒S bonds for potential use in the mid-infrared at 3-5 microns. These materials are largely made from elemental sulfur by an inverse vulcanization process; in the current study we focus on the properties of a chemically stable, branched copolymer of poly(sulfur-random-1,3-diisopropenylbenzene) (poly(S-r-DIB). Copolymers with elemental sulfur content ranging from 50% to 80% by weight were studied by UV-VIS spectroscopy, FTIR, and prism coupling for refractive index measurement. Clear correlation between material composition and the optical properties was established, confirming that the high polarizability of the sulfur atom leads to high refractive index while also maintaining low optical loss. Applications of the materials for bulk optics, high-density photonic circuits, and infrared components will also be discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 March 2014
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 8983, Organic Photonic Materials and Devices XVI, 89830D (7 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2040771
Show Author Affiliations
Soha Namnabat, College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Jared J. Gabriel, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Jeffrey Pyun, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Robert A. Norwood, College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8983:
Organic Photonic Materials and Devices XVI
Christopher E. Tabor; François Kajzar; Toshikuni Kaino; Yasuhiro Koike, Editor(s)

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