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Proceedings Paper

The role of nanoparticles in visible transparent nanocomposites
Author(s): Thad Druffel; Omar Buazza; Matt Lattis; Scott Farmer; Megan Spencer; Natalia Mandzy; E. A. Grulke
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Paper Abstract

Metal oxide nanoparticles can be used in thin film polymer systems to engineer specific material properties while maintaining visible transparency. High loadings of nanoparticles in a polymer can manipulate refractive index, modulus, and UV absorption over a wide range. Because the polymer binders can be allowed to dominate the physical properties, these systems are ideal where materials undergo large strains. While stable dispersions of sub-100nm diameter CeO2, ZnO, and SiO2 are well understood and commercially available, our group also developed a stable dispersion of TiO2 nanoparticles. These metal oxides are significantly harder than the host polymer, have high UV absorption, and cover a large refractive index range. Our group has successfully incorporated these materials into PMMA thin films with loadings up to 60% by volume (approaching the theoretical close packing of spheres). These thin film nanocomposites have been successfully incorporated into 30 layer, sharp cut optical filters that easily withstand large strains induced by mechanical loading and thermal cycling. In these films we have adhered to the rule that nanoparticle diameter should be one-tenth the wavelength of visible light. As the thickness of the overall filter stack increases, light scattering is intensified, so the dimensions and refractive indices of the nanoparticles become critical for highly transparent systems. We study here the interactions of particle dimensions, refractive index, loading, thickness, and transparency in nanocomposites.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 September 2008
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7030, Nanophotonic Materials V, 70300F (4 September 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.795273
Show Author Affiliations
Thad Druffel, Optical Dynamics (United States)
Omar Buazza, Optical Dynamics (United States)
Matt Lattis, Optical Dynamics (United States)
Scott Farmer, Optical Dynamics (United States)
Megan Spencer, Optical Dynamics (United States)
Natalia Mandzy, Univ. of Kentucky (United States)
E. A. Grulke, Univ. of Kentucky (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7030:
Nanophotonic Materials V
Zeno Gaburro; Stefano Cabrini; Dmitri Talapin, Editor(s)

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