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Photopolymerizable nanocomposites with good optical properties consisting of an acrylamide based photopolymer and zeolite nanoparticles (Beta, zeolite A, AlPO-18, silicalite-1 and zeolite L) were fabricated and characterized for holographic applications. The colloidal zeolite solutions used in this project were characterized by several techniques including X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Raman spectroscopy to ensure their successful synthesis. The dependence of grating performances in these nanocomposites on recording intensity, spatial frequency and zeolite concentration were studied. It was found that the incorporation of silicalite-1 nanoparticles or a small amount of zeolite A nanoparticles (up to 1% wt.) leads to an improvement of the refractive index modulation of the gratings, while the addition of AlPO-18 and Beta nanoparticles to the photopolymer did not yield higher refractive index modulation. Despite a partial redistribution of nanoparticles during the holographic recording was observed, these results can be explained by the hydrophobic/ hydrophilic nature of the nanoparticles and their interactions/absence of interactions with the host photopolymer (studied by Visible, Raman and 13C NMR Spectroscopy). Gratings recorded in Beta and AlPO-18 nanocomposites were tested for holographic sensing. The interactions between zeolite L and sensitizing dyes was studied by visible spectroscopy for potential use in variable spectral sensitivity optical materials. A new photopolymerizable material was developed, with less toxic properties than acrylamide monomer and gratings recorded in this type of material were characterized for use in holographic sensor applications.
Leite, Elsa. Photopolymerizable Nanocomposites for Holographic Applications. Doctoral Thesis. Dublin Institute of Technology, 2010.