Photoinduced linear and/or circular birefringences from light propagation through amorphous or smectic azopolymer films
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The self-induced rotation of the azimuth of elliptically polarized light passing through birefringent azopolymer thin films is investigated. The experiments were carried out on thin films of the amorphous p(DR1M-co-MMA) and p(DR1M) azopolymer samples and of the p(6MAN) derivative in its glassy and liquid-crystalline phases. In fact, using various controlled input light ellipticities, linear birefringence (LB) and/or circular birefringence (CB) measurements were performed separately and in conjunction with polarization analyses of the transmitted pump beam. According to a general theoretical analysis based on Jones’ matrix formalism, it is thus shown that the induced rotation angle through the films depends mainly on the ellipticity of the input light, on the generated LB level and, to a lesser extent, on the CB photoinduced in the liquid-crystalline phase. In the latter case, it is concluded that irradiation with circularly polarized light does induce a chiral arrangement in the polymer film, although the photosensitive chromophores do not contain any optically active group.
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