Polymer-Inorganic Flexible Nanostructured Films for the Control of Light

European Research Council Executive Agency
Dec. 2012 – Nov. 2017

Grant agreement no.: 307081. Duration: 60 months
Area of activity of the project: Optical Materials.
Host Institution: Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Principal Investigator: Hernán Míguez
Multifunctional Optical Materials Group

The POLIGHT project focuses on the integration of a series of inorganic nanostructured materials possessing photonic or combined photonic and plasmonic properties into polymeric films, providing a significant advance with respect to current state of the art in flexible photonics. These highly adaptable films could act either as passive UV-Vis-NIR selective frequency mirrors or filters, or as matrices for light absorbing or optically active species capable of tailoring their optical response. The goal of this project is two-fold. In one aspect, the aim is to fill a currently existing hole in the field of materials for radiation protection, which is the absence of highly flexible and adaptable films in which selected ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum wavelengths can be sharply blocked or allowed to pass depending on the different foreseen applications. In another, the POLIGHT project seeks to go one step beyond in the integration of absorbing and emitting nanomaterials into simple flexible polymeric matrices by including hierarchically structured photonic lattices that provide fine tuning of the optical properties of these hybrid ensembles. This will be achieved by means of enhanced matter-radiation interactions that result from field localization effects at specific resonant modes. The opportunity arises as a result of the recent development of a series of robust inorganic photonic structures that present interconnected porous networks susceptible of hosting polymers and thus inheriting their mechanical properties.