Photorefractive polymers and their applications

Bernard Kippelen, Nasser N Peyghambarian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Photorefractive polymers exhibit large refractive index changes when exposed to low power laser beams. When the optical excitation consists of two interfering coherent beams, the periodic light distribution produces a periodic refractive index modulation. The resulting index change produces a hologram in the volume of the polymer film. The hologram can be reconstructed by diffracting a third laser beam on the periodic index modulation. In contrast to many physical processes that can be used to generate a refractive index change, the photorefractive effect is fully reversible, meaning that the recorded holograms can be erased with a spatially uniform light beam. This reversibility makes photorefractive polymers suitable for real-time holographic applications. The mechanism that leads to the formation of a photorefractive index modulation involves the formation of an internal electric field through the absorption of light, the generation of carriers, their transport and trapping over macroscopic distances. The resulting electric field produces a refractive index change through orientational or non-linear optical effects. Due to the transport process, the index modulation amplitude is phase shifted with respect to the periodic light distribution produced by the interfering optical beams that generate the hologram. This phase shift enables the coherent energy transfer between two beams propagating in a thick photorefractive material. This property, referred to as two-beam coupling, is used to build optical amplifiers. Hence, photorefractive materials are also playing a role in imaging applications. Discovered and studied for several decades mainly in inorganic crystals and semiconductors, the photorefractive effect has not yet found wide spread commercial applications. This can be attributed to the difficulties associated with the growth of crystals, and to the high cost of optical and optomechanical components necessary for the development of complete optical systems. With the emergence of novel low cost plastic optical components that can be mass produced by techniques such as injection molding, the cost and the weight of optical components is decreasing rapidly. This trend together with the advances made in fabricating integrated laser sources at lower cost provide a great momentum to the development of new optical processing technologies. As real-time optical recording and processing media, photorefractive polymers are expected to play a major role in these technologies. The optical, physical, and chemical properties of photorefractive polymers are outlined and discussed. Current material classes and their respective merits and future challenges are presented together with examples of applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-156
Number of pages70
JournalAdvances in Polymer Science
Volume161
StatePublished - 2003

Fingerprint

Polymers
Holograms
Refractive index
Photorefractive materials
Modulation
Laser beams
Costs
Electric fields
Optical recording
Crystals
Light amplifiers
Carrier transport
Amplitude modulation
Photoexcitation
Processing
Crystallization
Polymer films
Injection molding
Phase shift
Optical systems

Keywords

  • Carrier transport
  • Charge generation
  • Electro-optics
  • Glass transition temperature
  • Holographic storage
  • Interferometry
  • Kerr effect
  • Optical processing
  • Orientational birefringence
  • Photoconductive
  • Photorefractive
  • Polymer
  • Real-time holography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics

Cite this

Photorefractive polymers and their applications. / Kippelen, Bernard; Peyghambarian, Nasser N.

In: Advances in Polymer Science, Vol. 161, 2003, p. 87-156.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{405f36e70b454272b79c35ed7e79987f,
title = "Photorefractive polymers and their applications",
abstract = "Photorefractive polymers exhibit large refractive index changes when exposed to low power laser beams. When the optical excitation consists of two interfering coherent beams, the periodic light distribution produces a periodic refractive index modulation. The resulting index change produces a hologram in the volume of the polymer film. The hologram can be reconstructed by diffracting a third laser beam on the periodic index modulation. In contrast to many physical processes that can be used to generate a refractive index change, the photorefractive effect is fully reversible, meaning that the recorded holograms can be erased with a spatially uniform light beam. This reversibility makes photorefractive polymers suitable for real-time holographic applications. The mechanism that leads to the formation of a photorefractive index modulation involves the formation of an internal electric field through the absorption of light, the generation of carriers, their transport and trapping over macroscopic distances. The resulting electric field produces a refractive index change through orientational or non-linear optical effects. Due to the transport process, the index modulation amplitude is phase shifted with respect to the periodic light distribution produced by the interfering optical beams that generate the hologram. This phase shift enables the coherent energy transfer between two beams propagating in a thick photorefractive material. This property, referred to as two-beam coupling, is used to build optical amplifiers. Hence, photorefractive materials are also playing a role in imaging applications. Discovered and studied for several decades mainly in inorganic crystals and semiconductors, the photorefractive effect has not yet found wide spread commercial applications. This can be attributed to the difficulties associated with the growth of crystals, and to the high cost of optical and optomechanical components necessary for the development of complete optical systems. With the emergence of novel low cost plastic optical components that can be mass produced by techniques such as injection molding, the cost and the weight of optical components is decreasing rapidly. This trend together with the advances made in fabricating integrated laser sources at lower cost provide a great momentum to the development of new optical processing technologies. As real-time optical recording and processing media, photorefractive polymers are expected to play a major role in these technologies. The optical, physical, and chemical properties of photorefractive polymers are outlined and discussed. Current material classes and their respective merits and future challenges are presented together with examples of applications.",
keywords = "Carrier transport, Charge generation, Electro-optics, Glass transition temperature, Holographic storage, Interferometry, Kerr effect, Optical processing, Orientational birefringence, Photoconductive, Photorefractive, Polymer, Real-time holography",
author = "Bernard Kippelen and Peyghambarian, {Nasser N}",
year = "2003",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "161",
pages = "87--156",
journal = "Advances in Polymer Science",
issn = "0065-3195",
publisher = "Springer New York",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Photorefractive polymers and their applications

AU - Kippelen, Bernard

AU - Peyghambarian, Nasser N

PY - 2003

Y1 - 2003

N2 - Photorefractive polymers exhibit large refractive index changes when exposed to low power laser beams. When the optical excitation consists of two interfering coherent beams, the periodic light distribution produces a periodic refractive index modulation. The resulting index change produces a hologram in the volume of the polymer film. The hologram can be reconstructed by diffracting a third laser beam on the periodic index modulation. In contrast to many physical processes that can be used to generate a refractive index change, the photorefractive effect is fully reversible, meaning that the recorded holograms can be erased with a spatially uniform light beam. This reversibility makes photorefractive polymers suitable for real-time holographic applications. The mechanism that leads to the formation of a photorefractive index modulation involves the formation of an internal electric field through the absorption of light, the generation of carriers, their transport and trapping over macroscopic distances. The resulting electric field produces a refractive index change through orientational or non-linear optical effects. Due to the transport process, the index modulation amplitude is phase shifted with respect to the periodic light distribution produced by the interfering optical beams that generate the hologram. This phase shift enables the coherent energy transfer between two beams propagating in a thick photorefractive material. This property, referred to as two-beam coupling, is used to build optical amplifiers. Hence, photorefractive materials are also playing a role in imaging applications. Discovered and studied for several decades mainly in inorganic crystals and semiconductors, the photorefractive effect has not yet found wide spread commercial applications. This can be attributed to the difficulties associated with the growth of crystals, and to the high cost of optical and optomechanical components necessary for the development of complete optical systems. With the emergence of novel low cost plastic optical components that can be mass produced by techniques such as injection molding, the cost and the weight of optical components is decreasing rapidly. This trend together with the advances made in fabricating integrated laser sources at lower cost provide a great momentum to the development of new optical processing technologies. As real-time optical recording and processing media, photorefractive polymers are expected to play a major role in these technologies. The optical, physical, and chemical properties of photorefractive polymers are outlined and discussed. Current material classes and their respective merits and future challenges are presented together with examples of applications.

AB - Photorefractive polymers exhibit large refractive index changes when exposed to low power laser beams. When the optical excitation consists of two interfering coherent beams, the periodic light distribution produces a periodic refractive index modulation. The resulting index change produces a hologram in the volume of the polymer film. The hologram can be reconstructed by diffracting a third laser beam on the periodic index modulation. In contrast to many physical processes that can be used to generate a refractive index change, the photorefractive effect is fully reversible, meaning that the recorded holograms can be erased with a spatially uniform light beam. This reversibility makes photorefractive polymers suitable for real-time holographic applications. The mechanism that leads to the formation of a photorefractive index modulation involves the formation of an internal electric field through the absorption of light, the generation of carriers, their transport and trapping over macroscopic distances. The resulting electric field produces a refractive index change through orientational or non-linear optical effects. Due to the transport process, the index modulation amplitude is phase shifted with respect to the periodic light distribution produced by the interfering optical beams that generate the hologram. This phase shift enables the coherent energy transfer between two beams propagating in a thick photorefractive material. This property, referred to as two-beam coupling, is used to build optical amplifiers. Hence, photorefractive materials are also playing a role in imaging applications. Discovered and studied for several decades mainly in inorganic crystals and semiconductors, the photorefractive effect has not yet found wide spread commercial applications. This can be attributed to the difficulties associated with the growth of crystals, and to the high cost of optical and optomechanical components necessary for the development of complete optical systems. With the emergence of novel low cost plastic optical components that can be mass produced by techniques such as injection molding, the cost and the weight of optical components is decreasing rapidly. This trend together with the advances made in fabricating integrated laser sources at lower cost provide a great momentum to the development of new optical processing technologies. As real-time optical recording and processing media, photorefractive polymers are expected to play a major role in these technologies. The optical, physical, and chemical properties of photorefractive polymers are outlined and discussed. Current material classes and their respective merits and future challenges are presented together with examples of applications.

KW - Carrier transport

KW - Charge generation

KW - Electro-optics

KW - Glass transition temperature

KW - Holographic storage

KW - Interferometry

KW - Kerr effect

KW - Optical processing

KW - Orientational birefringence

KW - Photoconductive

KW - Photorefractive

KW - Polymer

KW - Real-time holography

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0037278895&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0037278895&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0037278895

VL - 161

SP - 87

EP - 156

JO - Advances in Polymer Science

JF - Advances in Polymer Science

SN - 0065-3195

ER -