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Chalcogenide Hybrid Inorganic/Organic Polymers: Ultrahigh Refractive Index Polymers for Infrared Imaging

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journal contribution
posted on 14.04.2017, 00:00 authored by Laura E. Anderson, Tristan S. Kleine, Yueyan Zhang, David D. Phan, Soha Namnabat, Edward A. LaVilla, Katrina M. Konopka, Lilliana Ruiz Diaz, Michael S. Manchester, Jim Schwiegerling, Richard S. Glass, Michael E. Mackay, Kookheon Char, Robert A. Norwood, Jeffrey Pyun
We report on the preparation of ultrahigh refractive index polymers via the inverse vulcanization of elemental sulfur, selenium, and 1,3-diisopropenylbenzene for use as novel transmissive materials for mid-infrared (IR) imaging applications. Poly­(sulfur-random-selenium-random-(1,3-diisopropenylbenzene)) (poly­(S-r-Se-r-DIB) terpolymer materials from this process exhibit the highest refractive index of any synthetic polymer (n > 2.0) and excellent IR transparency, which can be directly tuned by terpolymer composition. Sulfur or selenium containing (co)­polymers prepared via inverse vulcanization can be described as Chalcogenide Hybrid Inorganic/Organic Polymers (CHIPs) and are polymeric analogues to wholly inorganic Chalcogenide Glasses (ChGs), which are commonly used as transmissive materials in mid-IR imaging. Finally, we demonstrate that CHIPs composed of (poly­(S-r-Se-r-DIB) can be melt processed into windows that enabled high quality mid-IR thermal imaging of human subjects and highly resolved imaging of human vasculature.