Polymers | Refractive Index Measurements in Polymers according to ASTM D 542-00 and ISO 489:1999

Determination of refractive indices in polymers and organic plastics is important in several optical applications such as foils, fibers and lenses.

Transparent plastics are becoming more and more attractive for optical applications, like optical fibers, adhesives, lenses, LCD displays, anti-reflective films, etc.

High and low refractive index polymers are used in several optical applications. Low refractive index polymers have a refractive index of roughly 1.3 - 1.4 and are applied to optical applications, e.g. anti-reflective coatings for optical lenses. The higher the refractive index, the higher the lens effect of the material. High refractive index polymers have refractive indices of 1.5 and higher. Transparent high refractive index polymers are used in optical applications that require strong focusing power, like for example optical lenses.

In optical applications, not only the refractive index is of interest, but also its wavelength dependence, the dispersion. For those interested in determination of Dispersion and Abbe number, please see also the corresponding Application Report “Dispersion and Abbe Number”.

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