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Macromolecular Chemistry I:

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Audorff, H.; Kreger, K.; Walker, R.; Haarer, D.; Kador, L.; Schmidt, H.-W.: Holographic Gratings and Data Storage in Azobenzene-Containing Block Copolymers and Molecular Glasses, Advances in Polymer Science, 228, 59-121 (2010) -- DOI: 10.1007/12_2009_35
This review covers synthesis, materials development, and photophysics of azobenzene-containing block copolymers as potential media for reversible volume holographic data storage. For high-density holographic data storage, volume gratings must be inscribed in millimeter-thick samples to achieve efficient angle multiplexing. It is demonstrated that block copolymers with azobenzene side-groups in the minority block develop no detrimental surface relief structures and exhibit superior performance regarding volume gratings, compared to homopolymers and statistical copolymers. Several material concepts for optimizing the refractive index modulation and the stability of volume gratings are presented. Stabilities of more than 2 years were achieved. Most important is the development of polymer blends comprising the azobenzene-containing block copolymer and an optically transparent homopolymer. This enables the preparation of millimeter-thick samples with the required optical density of ∼ 0. 7 at the writing wavelength by conventional injection molding techniques. The inscription of up to 200 holograms at the same lateral position was demonstrated. In addition, more than 1,000 write/erase cycles can be performed. This is the first time that the inscription and erasure of the long-term stable angle-multiplexed volume gratings in a rewritable polymeric medium have been achieved by purely optical means. A second important application for azobenzene-containing materials is the controlled preparation of surface relief structures. It is demonstrated that azobenzene-containing molecular glasses are an ideal class for efficient formation of surface relief gratings (SRGs) with amplitude heights of more than 600 nm. Clear relationships can be established between the chemical structure of the molecules and the behavior of SRG formation. All results are in agreement with the gradient force model by Kumar et al. The surface patterns are stable enough to be transferred to a polymer surface via replica molding.
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