Polymer Optics

Samantha Garton, Colorado Photopolymer Solutions

Abstract:Glass and polymer optics are used extensively in a variety of applications. Some uses for optics include; medical disposables, bar-code scan/recognition, security and finger print scanners, motion and presence sensors, rifle scopes, eye glasses, and CCD cameras. Polymer optics offer several advantages over traditional glass optics including lighter weight, ease of manufacturing, and lower material cost. Due to these advantages, optical glass materials have been successfully replaced with polymer optics in many applications such as eye glasses, phone screens, and cameras. Current drawbacks of polymer optics include the lack of a high precision fabrication method as well as limited materials that exhibit the same material properties of glass optics. There are an abundance of optical glass materials available for use in commercial optical systems and very limited optical polymer materials. In this study we will explore a variety of different materials with a wide variation of refractive index and Abbe numbers to create a broader range of optical properties to choose from when designing polymer lenses. We will also evaluate the pros and cons of using UV curing vs thermal curing for molding polymeric optics. A plethora of different chemistries utilizing a comprehensive list of monomers will be investigated to create an expansive polymer materials library for the use in lens fabrication. The end goal is to create polymer optical materials for the use in rifle scopes lenses due to their lighter weight, lower material cost, and ease of manufacturing.