4 September 2008 The role of nanoparticles in visible transparent nanocomposites
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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.
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Thad Druffel, Thad Druffel, Omar Buazza, Omar Buazza, Matt Lattis, Matt Lattis, Scott Farmer, Scott Farmer, Megan Spencer, Megan Spencer, Natalia Mandzy, Natalia Mandzy, E. A. Grulke, E. A. Grulke, } "The role of nanoparticles in visible transparent nanocomposites", Proc. SPIE 7030, Nanophotonic Materials V, 70300F (4 September 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.795273; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.795273

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