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

Matthias Edler, Stefan Mayrbrugger, Alexander Fian, Gregor Trimmel, Simone Radl, Wolfgang Kern, Thomas Griesser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3931-3938
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry C
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)
  • Experimental


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