The realisation that modulated light pulses can be confined over long distances with minimum losses within a structure that comprises a controlled spatial distribution of the refractive index n – as, e.g. in optical fibres – has, without doubt, underpinned the telecommunications revolution witnessed during the 20th century. The refractive index n, quantifying how light propagates in a given medium, has as a consequence become one of the most important materials properties in designing photonics products. The other key information for most optical and photonic applications is to know how much light is absorbed by a material. This is described by the extinction coefficient κ. There is, though, an apparent lack of solution-processable systems of κ close to 0 (i.e. are transparent) whilst n can be manipulated over a broad window – a bottleneck that has rendered fabrication of a range of optical structures impracticable, if not impossible. Here we address this issue and advance versatile, solution-processable polymer/inorganic hybrids whose refractive index n can be tuned over a wide range without compromising their transparency nor processability.
The programme will develop in three directions: i) the design of novel, solution-processable molecular hybrids; ii) the development of (nano-)fabrication technologies for the deposition and/or patterning of such hybrids; and iii) extension of the range of currently explored photonic crystals to entirely new optical devices.
Hence, we have identified a clear need for new materials with increased optical functionalities, and novel concepts and approaches that will allow simple fabrication of structures to light. Key objective for the proposed programme thus is to advance new hybrids, develop a deeper understanding of key structure-property interrelationships of inorganic/organic hybrids and develop novel photonic architectures.
Field of science
- /natural sciences/physical sciences/optics/fibre optics
Call for proposal
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