We examine optically induced birefringence in semicrystalline azopolymer films that are held at glass-transition temperature Tg. The birefringence increases markedly after interception of the pump beam; the saturation value depends on exposure time. In addition, the induced birefringence is completely erased by irradiation with a circularly polarized beam at Tg. Using this thermally assisted method, we demonstrate the holographic recording of a test image. The intensity of the diffracted beam also increases after interception of the writing beams. Furthermore, the retrieved image is found to have a resolution of ∼30 lp/mm. This resolution is comparable with that of the optical setup that is used. Accordingly, the thermally assisted recording by use of semicrystalline azopolymers is a promising method for reversible holographic storage.
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