In this study high-refractive-index polyimide/titania hybrid optical thin films were successfully prepared using a sol-gel process combined with spin coating and multistep baking. The hybrid thin films were prepared from a soluble polyimide, a coupling agent, and a titania precursor. Transparent hybrid thin films can be obtained at TiO2 content as high as 40 wt.-%. The FE-SEM results suggest that the TiO2 particles in the hybrid thin films have diameters in the nanometer range. The thermal decomposition temperatures of the prepared hybrid materials are above those of the respective polyimide except for the highest TiO2 content hybrids. The refractive indices at 633 nm of the prepared hybrid thin films increase linearly from 1.66 to 1.82 with increasing TiO2 content. The excellent optical transparency, thermal stability, and tunable refractive index provide the potentials of the polyimide/titania hybrid thin films in optical applications.
Macromolecular Materials and Engineering 291(12), pp.1521-1528