PHOTONICS POLYMERS FOR FIBER-TO-THE-DISPLAY
aFaculty of Science and Technology, Keio University, 3-14-1 Hiyoshi, Kouhoku-ku, Yokohama 223-0061, Japan
bKoike Photonics Polymer Project, ERATO-SORST, Japan Science and Technology Agency, E-building, Shinkawasaki Town Campus, 144-8 Ogura, Saiwai-ku, Kawasaki 212-0054, Japan
Photonics polymers have been put into practical use as pickup lenses for DVD and CD players, liquid crystal display devices, plastic optical fibers, etc. However, photonics polymers also have their own problems that prevent the upgrade of photonics polymer devices and expansion of their applications. The problems that have been noted are lower clarity, larger birefringence, larger wavelength dispersion of refractive index, etc., compared with optical glass. These problems have been considered as unavoidable properties peculiar to photonics polymers. Therefore, it has been thought that photonics polymers are not suitable for applications in the next generation photonics, which require longer-distance transmission, less distorted transmission of ultra high-speed signals, more accurate control of polarized waves, etc. But our question is "Is it really true?".
There has been made almost no basic research worldwide that can fully investigate and explain the relation between photonics polymers and their optical properties. It seems that photonics polymers have been evaluated with almost no fundamental debate linking polymer material science and optics, and that this evaluation has become common knowledge. We have started our research by breaking down those academic boundaries, and the evaluation about how light relates to polymers, investigating their origins. And based on those basic researches, we have proposed and demonstrated photonics polymers with novel optical functions for applications in photonics fields such as optical communication and high-quality display.
We are focusing on how we can use these novel technologies to bring about a real fruitfulness in our lives. Seeking for the true wealth of life, the concept of "Fiber-to-the-Display" was born. Graded-index polymer optical fiber that enables more than gigabit order data transmission is directly connected to the large and high-quality display in this concept. Therefore, the real-time communication by high quality motion picture with no time delay will become available for the first time even at home. This concept can help us bringing back our tending to forget heartwarming face to face communication and realize the future broadband society.