Abstract

We report a fabrication method for a gradient refractive-index polymeric object from a binary comonomer system, regardless of the monomers' reactivity ratio and the molar volume criteria of gradient refractive-index development. To fabricate a large gradient refractive-index rod consisting of a methyl methacrylate and 2,2,3,3-tetrafluoropropyl methacrylate comonomer pair that has not been used for fabrication of a copolymer gradient refractive-index rod by previous conventional methods because of chemical restrictions in molar volume and reactivity ratio difference, we use the so-called successive UV polymerization in a controlled radial volume in conjunction with an automatic refill reactor. Simultaneously and automatically, the volume shrinkage problem, an inevitable shortcoming for the fabrication of a large polymeric object in a commercial production scale, is overcome and exploited. The theoretical features of the refractive-index profile generation of this method are also compared with those of conventional methods for which the chemical restrictions of monomers are crucial for the shape of a refractive-index profile.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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