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Developing a photorefractive polymer.

Researchers at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., have developed the first polymer exhibiting the photorefractive effect. Like a crystal of lithium niobate, this new material responds to light by altering its refractive index, which affects how light propagates through the material. The polymer itself consists of a mixture of a new type of epoxy and an organic material often used in photocopiers.

Because photorefractive polymers should be cheaper than photorefractive crystals, more easily shaped and more readily tailored to have specific characteristics, these novel materials may allow the development of holographic data storage and new coatings that protect sensors from laser damage.
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Author:Peterson, Ivars
Publication:Science News
Date:May 25, 1991
Words:106
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