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Polymer-Based Mirror Boosts Reflectivity
Apr 2000
WASHINGTON, Apr. 10 -- A team of researchers at 3M has developed a reflective film made from polyester and other polymers that reflects light with a brightness and versatility that the scientists describe as superior to other mirrors, according to a report in Science magazine.
According to Andrew J. Ouderkirk and colleagues, the new mirrors are unusual in that they can reflect visible light from all angles with great efficiency. By alternating thin films of birefringent and non-birefringent, or isotropic, polymers, the scientists gained more control over the interactions of the reflected light beams, and were able to induce light to efficiently reflect off the polymer mirror regardless of the light's initial angle of approach. The mirrors, which consist of thin, flexible stacks of layered polymers such as polyester, are described as cheap, versatile, and easy to make in large volume; the researchers expect them to further the use of photonics in such fields as communications, medicine, and astronomy.

The scientific observation of celestial radiation that has reached the vicinity of Earth, and the interpretation of these observations to determine the characteristics of the extraterrestrial bodies and phenomena that have emitted the radiation.
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