Transparent homogeneous polymeric composite media have been obtained and investigated that contain up to 14 wt. % of ZnO nanoparticles. It has been established that the physical properties of the material, such as light scattering, Brinell hardness, and moisture absorption, vary nonmonotonically as the concentration of nanoparticles increases as a result of the modification of the internal structure of the nanocomposites. The nanocomposite structure has been investigated by the methods of IR spectroscopy and atomic-force microscopy. By comparison with the unmodified polymeric matrix, the hardness is not degraded, while the light scattering and moisture absorption are reduced. Because the active groups of one of the monomers (the carboxyl groups) interact with the surface of the nanoparticles, the latter are uniformly distributed over the entire volume of the material, and this forms an optically homogeneous nanocomposite medium. The ZnO nanoparticles are photocatalysts and centers of the polymerization process.
© 2013 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article