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23 September 2015 Polymer hybrid materials for planar optronic systems
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Planar optronic systems made entirely from polymeric functional materials on polymeric foils are interesting architectures for monitoring and sensing applications. Key components in this regard are polymer hybrid materials with adjustable optical properties. These materials can then be processed into optical components such as waveguides for example by using embossing techniques. However, the resulting microstructures have often low mechanical or thermal stability which quickly leads to a degradation of the microstructures accompanied often by a complete loss of function.

A simple and versatile way to increase the thermal and mechanical stability of polymers is to connect the individual chains to a polymer network by using thermally or photochemically reactive groups. Upon excitation, these groups form reactive intermediates such as radicals or nitrenes which then crosslink with adjacent C-H-groups through a C,H insertion reaction (CHic = C,H insertion based crosslinking). To generate waveguide structures a PDMS stamp is filled with the waveguide core material e.g. poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA), which is modified with a few mol% of the thermal crosslinker and hot embossed onto a foil substrate e.g. PMMA. In this one-step hot embossing process polymer ridge waveguides are formed and simultaneously the polymer becomes crosslinked. Due to the reaction across the boundary between waveguide and substrate it is also possible to combine initially incompatible polymers for the waveguide and the substrate foil. The thermomechanical properties of the obtained materials are studied.
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Martin Körner, Oswald Prucker, and Jürgen Rühe "Polymer hybrid materials for planar optronic systems", Proc. SPIE 9626, Optical Systems Design 2015: Optical Design and Engineering VI, 96262O (23 September 2015);

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