In futuristic movies where things like androids (robotic people, not communication devices), and sleek medical devices are featured, the wondrous visual properties of the props are based on versatile uses of optical polymers. The need for a substance that looks like and transmits light similar glass, but is more flexible, has inspired materials used in today’s consumer technologies.
Composition of Polymers with Optical Applications
Almost every smartphone and late model computer uses polymers to create fantastic vivid screen displays. Optic polymers, or consumer optical fiber, is an extruded acrylic resin blended with certain elements. Extrusion means that unlike glass, which is pulled into shape, these polymers are micro-forced into a specific dye. Once the dye is cast, it is reinforced, or cladded with a substance like silicone. The glassy look, but exponentially more versatile composition of a polymer, is responsible for allowing technology manufacturers to create ever-evolving designs.
Polymers and Hardware Size
As computers, televisions, and phones become more powerful, they also tend to get smaller and thinner. This is also due to the use of polymers and casting dye innovation. Optical fibers are extremely micro-aligned. This means that they retain their strength and light transmission properties even when thinned to the near elemental level. The thinner and more fluid dyes become, the thinner an extrude polymer will be. Extremely thin polymer casts can be made that reflect almost any shape that the imagination conceives, and an optical fiber manufacture can design. It’s easy to understand how the most incredible sci-fi movie aesthetics suddenly arrived “on the scene” in consumer markets. Advanced optical fibers are now found in almost every household in the world.
The Other Advantage of Polymers
Akin to glass, optical fibers transmit light and the full color spectrum. Any plastic or metal-based inking process used to create digital effects is fully displayed through these fibers. The clarity, boldness, and reality-like depth of modern television, computer, and phone displays owe their existence to extremely thin, pliable, and clear extruded polymer processes.
Polymer manufacturers are increasing their ability to produce universal fibers for consumer products year after year. Fiber applications now range from communications, medical, and biometric advances, to defense and military lab uses. Processes like diamond turning and prototype realization make expansion of these applications wider with each product innovation. With optical fibers, the real world is quickly taking-on the appearance of what generations of people imagined through movie magic.