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Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 9;7:44333. doi: 10.1038/srep44333.

Novel Programmable Shape Memory Polystyrene Film: A Thermally Induced Beam-power Splitter.

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Center for Composite Materials and Structures, Harbin Institute of Technology, No. 2 YiKuang Street, Harbin, 150080, P.R. China.
Research Center of Ultra-precision Optoelectronic Instrumentation, Harbin Institute of Technology, No. 2 YiKuang Street, Harbin, 150080, P.R. China.
Department of Aerospace Science and Mechanics, Harbin Institute of Technology, No. 92 West DaZhi Street, Harbin, 150001, P.R. China.


Micro/nanophotonic structures that are capable of optical wave-front shaping are implemented in optical waveguides and passive optical devices to alter the phase of the light propagating through them. The beam division directions and beam power distribution depend on the design of the micro/nanostructures. The ultimate potential of advanced micro/nanophotonic structures is limited by their structurally rigid, functional singleness and not tunable against external impact. Here, we propose a thermally induced optical beam-power splitter concept based on a shape memory polystyrene film with programmable micropatterns. The smooth film exhibits excellent transparency with a transmittance of 95% in the visible spectrum and optical stability during a continuous heating process up to 90 °C. By patterning double sided shape memory polystyrene film into erasable and switchable micro-groove gratings, the transmission light switches from one designed light divided directions and beam-power distribution to another because of the optical diffraction effect of the shape changing micro gratings during the whole thermal activated recovery process. The experimental and theoretical results demonstrate a proof-of-principle of the beam-power splitter. Our results can be adapted to further extend the applications of micro/nanophotonic devices and implement new features in the nanophotonics.

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