A poly(3,4-alkylenedioxythiophene) electrochromic variable optical attenuator with near-infrared reflectivity tuned independently of the visible region

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Aubrey L Dyer|Christophe Grenier|John Reynolds
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Journal Article, Professional Journal
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Disubstituted poly(3,4-propylenedioxythiophene)s (PProDOTs) exhibit large electrochromic contrasts in the near infrared (NIR) while showing essentially no color change in the visible region when incorporated into a reflective device platform. The source of this is attributed to a conductive front that propagates through the insulating polymer film, extending from the polymer/electrode interface to the top of the polymer film. A utility of the large contrasts seen in the NIR region is demonstrated with application of the device as an electrochromic variable optical attenuator modulating fiber-optic signals for optical telecommunications. With bis(ethylhexyloxy)-substituted PProDOT as the active electrochromic polymer in the device, an optical attenuation of 11 dB at the telecommunications wavelengths of 1.31 and 1.55 μm is achieved with only a 0.1–0.2 dB optical loss in the bleached state. Other favorable properties include optical memory in the absorbing state, switching speeds of under 1 s, a low operating voltage of ±1.2 V, and an improved processability that allows spray-casting from organic solvents.
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