University of Delaware researchers developed a method to produce high-performance, flexible optical devices using chalcogenide glass and polymers. This new method produced the lowest optical loss ever recorded, close to an order of magnitude below other flexible optical devices.
Chalcogenide glass is not a flexible material, but when placed on polymers that do not bend, twist or roll, the researchers were able to create a device with superior flexibility and high optical performance. The device was bent to a radius of one-half millimeter over 5,000 times and still performed well. Potential applications for these new flexible optical devices include wearable devices, flexible consumer electronics, and foldable portable power generation systems.