The use of shape memory polymers is demonstrated for deformable, programmable, and shape-memorizing micro-optical devices. A semi-crystalline shape memory elastomer, crosslinked poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate), is used to prepare various micro-optic components, ranging from microlens and microprism arrays to diffraction gratings and holograms. The precise replication of surface features at the micro- and nanoscale and the formation of crosslinked shape memory polymer networks can be achieved in a single step via compression molding. Further deformation via hot pressing or stretching of micro-optics formed in this manner allows manipulation of the microscopic surface features, and thus the corresponding optical properties. Due to the shape memory effect, the original surface structures and the optical properties can be recovered and the devices be reprogrammed, with excellent reversibility in the optical properties. Furthermore, arrays of transparent resistive microheaters can be integrated with deformed micro-optical devices to selectively trigger the recovery of surface features in a spatially programmable manner, thereby providing additional capabilities in user-definable optics.
- shape memory polymers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials