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Issue 25, 2013
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Wavelength selective refractive index modulation in a ROMP derived polymer bearing phenyl- and ortho-nitrobenzyl ester groups

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Abstract

Patterning and tuning of the refractive index in polymers by means of UV-light is of great interest for optical applications such as polymeric waveguides or optical data storage devices. In this contribution, we report on the synthesis of a polynorbornene based copolymer bearing ortho-nitrobenzyl and phenyl ester groups capable of undergoing the photo-induced cleavage reaction and in a subsequent step optionally the photo-Fries rearrangement upon irradiation with UV-light. The photoreaction of these aromatic ester groups was investigated by means of FTIR, UV-VIS and spectroscopic ellipsometry. Due to the difference in UV absorption of the photoreactive units, the o-nitrobenzyl ester can be selectively excited by UV-light above 300 nm, while a subsequent illumination with 254 nm induces the photo-Fries rearrangement of the remaining phenyl ester groups. The structural changes in the chemical composition upon UV illumination lead to significant changes in the refractive index of the polymeric materials. Whilst the photo-Fries rearrangement of the phenyl ester groups causes a remarkable increase in the refractive index, it was found that the photo-induced cleavage reaction of ortho-nitrobenzyl ester moieties causes a decrease of the refractive index. This fact enables a selective tailoring of the refractive index by the choice of the applied wavelength. In addition, a two-step irradiation procedure using a sequence of different wavelengths provides the possibility of erasing and even inverting the index contrast.

Graphical abstract: Wavelength selective refractive index modulation in a ROMP derived polymer bearing phenyl- and ortho-nitrobenzyl ester groups

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Publication details

The article was received on 02 Jan 2013, accepted on 26 Apr 2013 and first published on 26 Apr 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3TC00006K
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. C, 2013,1, 3931-3938
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    Wavelength selective refractive index modulation in a ROMP derived polymer bearing phenyl- and ortho-nitrobenzyl ester groups

    M. Edler, S. Mayrbrugger, A. Fian, G. Trimmel, S. Radl, W. Kern and T. Griesser, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2013, 1, 3931
    DOI: 10.1039/C3TC00006K

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