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Title: Synthesis of High Refractive Index Polymer Thin Films for Soft, Flexible Optics Through Halomethane Quaternization of Poly(4‐Vinylpyridine)

Applications in soft, flexible optical, and optoelectronic applications demand polymer thin film coatings that can accommodate substantial physical deformations. The preparation of high refractive index polymers (HRIPs) through the quaternization of poly(4‐vinylpyridine) (P4VP) thin films with (di)halomethanes is presented. P4VP thin films are prepared by initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD) and then quaternized through exposure to saturated vapors of iodomethane (CH3I), dibromomethane (CH2Br2), and diiodomethane (CH2I2), resulting in refractive indices (RI) as high as 1.67, 1.71, and 2.07, respectively (at 632.8 nm). Fourier‐transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and X‐ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) confirmed the quaternization of pyridine pendant groups on the polymer chain to n‐methylpyridinium with primarily an iodide or bromide counterion, though a minor fraction of polyiodides are also detected. Additionally, these films demonstrate superior thermal stability, retaining their refractive index and thickness after thermal excursions to 200 °C. The halogenated P4VP films exhibit superior mechanical flexibility relative to conventional inorganic coatings (Al2O3and Ta2O5) and do not fracture at uniaxial tensile strains as high as 10%. This new material chemistry and fabrication approach method may enable advanced optical designs and functionality in a wide range of substrates and device architectures.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advanced Optical Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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