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Optical waveguides may be formed in thin films of transparent rubber by applying controlled stresses.
English (United States)
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Stress Induced Waveguides in Thin Film Transparent Rubbers
Optical waveguides may be formed in thin films of transparent rubber by
applying controlled stresses.
The stress-optical coefficients of transparent polymers are comparable to
those of conventional optical materials. However, the absolute magnitude of a
refractive index change produced by an applied stress field is in reality related to
the resultant strain of the material, and only indirectly to its stress. Typical
stress-optical coefficients correspond to an index of refraction change of about
one-tenth of the produced strain. Room temperature vulcanizing (RTV)
methylsiloxane silicone rubbers, for example, may be elastically strained by a
hundred percent or more, so that a 10 percent induced change in index of
refraction is possible. This is two orders of magnitude larger than is typical of
The drawing shows a possible configuration. A force f is applied via a
pressure block 10 along a line on top of an RTV film 12 lying on substrate 14 so
as to deform the film under the pressure block and cause a large localized index
change, at least for TM (transverse magnetic) polarized guided waves. The
deformed region of film 12 under the pressure block thus will act as an optical
waveguide. Clearly, the strength and delineation of the waveguide may be
simply changed by varying the force. This allows construction of a large family of
optical switches and modulators, both in mono- and in multi-mode guides....