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In situ Synthesis of High Refractive Index PDMS/Metal Oxide Nanocomposites

  • Qiaoyu Lu (a1) and Michael E. Mullins (a1)

Abstract

Organic-inorganic hybrids have been prepared with tailorable and enhanced properties which are unachievable using polymers or ceramics alone. By combining the flexibility of polymers with the electronic and optical properties of ceramic materials, these hybrids offer great potential for many optical, electrical and mechanical applications. Silicone polymers because of their desirable surface properties, excellent physical properties, heat stability, and high resistance to chemical and UV attack, have been widely used. Hybrid siloxane-metal oxide gels have been prepared via sol-gel techniques, by using hydroxyl-terminated polydimethylsiloxanes (PDMS) crosslinked by metallic alkoxides, M(OR)n. In this technique, the use of organic solvents permits organic and inorganic components to be combined at a molecular level with the desired composition. By varying the type and percentage of metal alkoxides during synthesis, transparent and homogeneous organic-inorganic hybrid materials with unique properties were obtained. Also a secondary metal oxide species was introduced to synthesize binary metal oxide-PDMS hybrids. Systematic experiments were carried out to study the effect of the reaction conditions and metal alkoxides-PDMS ratios on the properties of the final hybrids. These hybrids were spin coating on silicon wafers or molded into bulk films to be tested. The composition and the properties of the transparent inorganic-organic hybrids were investigated and characterized by ellipsometer and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Experimental results showed that the refractive index of the hybrid materials exhibits a proportional relationship with the metal oxide content, the higher the metal oxide content the higher the refractive index. The refractive index was increased from 1.4 of PDMS to 1.7 of metal oxide-PDMS hybrid with highest prepared metal oxide loading. From the FTIR spectra, the structures of the hybrids for various metal oxide-PDMS compositions were examined.

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