Sulfur-Rich Polymer-Based Infrared Polarizer

Polarimetric images, which use polarizers to selectively reflect the transverse electric (TE) field and transmit the unpolarized incident light’s transverse magnetic (TM) field, can provide information such as shading and surface morphologies. On the other hand, current Infrared polarizers are primarily based on expensive and brittle ceramics with nano-gratings typically fabricated by time- and cost-consuming interference lithography.

A sulfur-rich polymer synthesized via “inverse-vulcanization” has gotten much attention as a potential candidate for IR optics due to its inherent high transmittance in the infrared region. Its viscoelasticity and dynamic covalent disulfide bonds enable it to be shaped into various nanostructures.

A group of scientists has developed a highly sensitive sulfur-rich polymer-based Infrared polarizer. A self-aligned bilayer metallic grating and a spacer layer make up the bilayer structure (applied as the optical cavity). Researchers fine-tuned the thermal NIL conditions to produce high-quality nano-gratings and investigated spacer thickness to maximize TM transmission across all MWIR regions.

They successfully demonstrated a 400 nm sulfur-rich polymer-based Infrared polarizer designed by numerical simulations with optical performance and fabrication difficulty in mind. The high-fidelity 1D nano-grating was created over a 1 × 1 cm2 area by conducting a systematic investigation of thermal NIL conditions such as temperature, pressure, and time while accounting for the relationship between time and pressure explained by Stefan’s squeeze flow equation and the thermal behavior of sulfur-rich polymers such as glass transition and thermal degradation.

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