100th Anniversary of Macromolecular Science Viewpoint: High Refractive Index Polymers from Elemental Sulfur for Infrared Thermal Imaging and Optics

Feb. 3, 2020

Abstract: Optical technologies in the midwave and long wave infrared spectrum (MWIR, LWIR) are important systems for high resolution thermal imaging in near, or complete darkness. While IR thermal imaging has been extensively utilized in the defense sector, application of this technology is being driven toward emerging consumer markets and transportation. In this viewpoint, we review the field of IR thermal imaging and discuss the emerging use of synthetic organic and hybrid polymers as novel IR transmissive materials for this application. In particular, we review the critical role of elemental sulfur as a novel feedstock to prepare high refractive index polymers via inverse vulcanization and discuss the fundamental chemical insights required to impart improved IR transparency into these polymeric materials.