Photochromic doped sol-gel materials for fiber-optic devices
- Cite this article as:
- Levy, D., Del Monte, F., Otón, J.M. et al. J Sol-Gel Sci Technol (1997) 8: 931. doi:10.1007/BF02436963
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Photochromic-doped sol-gel materials have been prepared by adding a spiropyran photochromic dye to a solution of ethoxy silane monomers containing non-reacting ethyl radicals. After polymerization, normal photochromism (i.e., colored material upon UV irradiation) is obtained in the resulting matrix. The sol-gel matrix hinders the organic molecule rotations, thus giving two stable states, which can be reversibly switched by UV and green-blue irradiation respectively.
If these materials are attached to optical fibers, the properties of the light throughput may be modified. Simple fiber-optic/photochromic devices made of two optical fibers placed in a V-groove removable connector have been prepared. Once cured, these devices behave as optically addressed variable delay generators. The same devices can be used for preparing simple optical switches and routing systems.