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Transparent block copolymer thin films for protection of optical elements via chemical vapor deposition
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In this study, glycidyl methacrylate and 1H, 1H, 2H, 2H-perfluorodecyl acrylate copolymer p(GMA-co-PFDA) thin-films fabricated via Initiated Chemical Vapor Deposition (iCVD) were investigated as protective coatings on optical BK7 glass substrates and commercial optical filters. Durability tests based on military standards MIL-F-48616 and MIL-C-48497A were performed to evaluate performance of coatings for the protection of surfaces of optical elements. Cross-linked p(GMA-co-PFDA) copolymer coatings successfully passed all durability tests showing excellent mechanical properties and protection against humidity, salt water, swelling in water, and resistance to organic solvents while providing excellent adhesion to substrate. iCVD process enabled fine tuning of film morphology, mechanical properties and hydrophobicity by controlling the process parameters. Fabricated films were hydrophobic and highly transparent (>98%) in the wavelength range from 300 nm to 1000 nm. Optical transmittance measurements before and after coating process proved that while providing chemical and physical protection, p(GMA-co-PFDA) copolymer thin-films do not cause any detectable change in optical performance of commercial narrow band and wide band filters.