Sulfur copolymers for infrared optical imaging

S. Namnabat, J. J. Gabriel, J. Pyun, R. A. Norwood, E. L. Dereniak, J. Van Der Laan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


The development of organic polymers with low infrared absorption has been investigated as a possible alternative to inorganic metal oxide, semiconductor, or chalcogenide-based materials for a variety of optical devices and components, such as lenses, goggles, thermal imaging cameras and optical fibers. In principle, organic-based polymers are attractive for these applications because of their low weight, ease of processing, mechanical toughness, and facile chemical variation using commercially available precursors. Herein we report on the optical characterization of a new class of sulfur copolymers that are readily moldable, transparent above 500 nm, possess high refractive index (n > 1.8) and take advantage of the low infrared absorption of S-S bonds for potential use in the mid-infrared at 3-5 microns. These materials are largely made from elemental sulfur by an inverse vulcanization process; in the current study we focus on the properties of a chemically stable, branched copolymer of poly(sulfur-random-1,3-diisopropenylbenzene) (poly(S-r- DIB). Copolymers with elemental sulfur content ranging from 50% to 80% by weight were studied by UV-VIS spectroscopy, FTIR, and prism coupling for refractive index measurement. Clear correlation between material composition and the optical properties was established, confirming that the high polarizability of the sulfur atom leads to high refractive index while also maintaining low optical loss in the infrared.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInfrared Technology and Applications XL
ISBN (Print)9781628410075
StatePublished - 2014
Event40th Conference on Infrared Technology and Applications - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: May 5 2014May 8 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


Other40th Conference on Infrared Technology and Applications
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD


  • High refractive index polymers
  • Infrared materials
  • Infrared photonics
  • Optical materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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