Enhanced photoinduced birefringence in polymer microcavities

Piron, Rozenn; Toussaere, Eric; Josse, Dominique; Zyss, Joseph
October 2000
Applied Physics Letters;10/16/2000, Vol. 77 Issue 16
Academic Journal
We investigate photoinduced birefringence in functionalized polymer microcavities illuminated by a visible polarized cw laser beam. The cavity studied in this experiment consists of an assembly of two Bragg mirrors embedding a polymer film with tethered azobenzene dyes. Linearly polarized light induces orientationally selective excitation of the chromophore guests, resulting in optical anisotropy of the film. The mechanism of the phenomenon is based on random-to-axial statistical reorientation of the azochromophores following repetitive trans-cis-trans photoisomerization cycles. The resulting birefringence is inferred from analysis of the spectral shifts of the cavity Fabry-Pérot longitudinal modes as a result of illumination. A large value of the birefringence of the order of 10[sup -2] is noted after currently unoptimized durations of the order of 30′ in the 1.3-1.5 μm range with possible applications in optical storage at WDM telecom-compatible wavelengths. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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