Abstract

Three different polyfunctional acrylate monomers—trimethylolpropantriacrylate (TMPTA), pentaerythritol triacrylate (PETA) and di(trimethylolpropane) tetraacrylate (DTTA)—have been used as comonomers in combination with a reactive resin consisting of poly(methylmethacrylate), dissolved in its monomer methylmethacrylate. Phenanthrene has been added to form a guest–host system. The level of phenanthrene present may be adjusted to tailor the refractive index in the system. Prior to curing, the shear rate and temperature-dependent viscosity as a function of the composition were measured. It could be demonstrated that, with respect to different shaping methods, a tailor-made flow behaviour can be adjusted. After thermally-induced polymerization, the resulting optical (refractive index, optical transmittance) and thermomechanical (glass transition behavior, Vickers hardness) properties were characterized. A significant refractive index increase—up to a value close to 1.56 (@589 nm)—under the retention of good optical transmittance was able to be obtained. In addition, the photopolymerization behaviour was investigated to overcome the undesirable oxygen inhibition effect during the light-induced radical polymerization of acrylates. The level of acrylate units in the copolymer can compensate for the plasticizing effect of the dopant phenanthrene, enabling higher concentrations of the dopant in the guest–host system and therefore larger refractive index values suitable for polymer waveguide fabrication.
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