Femtosecond laser structuring of polymers for optical devices

Supervised by Dr Patricia Scully of the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science

The project will study femtosecond, subablation threshold photonmodification of polymers such as poly(methyl methacrylate) )PMMA) at a range of different fs laser wavelengths and pulse lengths, to generate refractive index structures in polymeric materials

A range of suitable laser systems is available at the Photon Science Institute.

Complex refractive index structures will be written into transparent polymer media using femtosecond lasers, to form miniaturised integrated 3-D optical circuits. Embedded, integrated polymer sensor devices based on waveguides, injection moulded devices and polymer optical fibres, will be investigated for a variety of sensing and measurement applications.

The project is multidisciplinary and combines expertise in optical waveguide/fibre instrumentation, polymer and analytical chemistry with laser physics and materials.

A range of other projects are also available involving chemically sensitive and functional optical materials for laser interrogation, sensing and measurement. For example,

  • Biosensors, microfluidics, lab on a chip;
  • Coatings for distributed optical fibre sensing;
  • Imaging 2 and 3-D pressure and chemical distributions using optical fibre arrays combined with tomography;
  • Gratings and refractive index structuring of optical waveguides and devices;
  • Optical coatings for gas and liquid sensing, e.g. hydrogen;
  • Measuring scaling, fouling, pH etc. in closed loop water and process systems;
  • On-line monitoring of laser material processing parameters.


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