Asahi Kasei transitions to full-scale marketing activities of AZP™ low-birefringence transparent polymer | 2022 | News | Asahi Kasei
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Asahi Kasei transitions to full-scale marketing activities of AZP™ low-birefringence transparent polymer

May 20, 2022
Asahi Kasei Corp.

Having developed AZP™ as a new transparent polymer featuring low birefringence*, Asahi Kasei began preliminary sales to certain customers last year in response to rising market needs. Full-scale marketing activities have now been launched to gain broader adoption of AZP™ by more customers in a wider range of fields.

  • *Birefringence, also known as double refraction, is the splitting of a ray of light into two rays when it passes through certain types of material, such as calcite crystals.

Recently there are increasing needs for optical materials having extremely low birefringence without disturbing polarization for use in virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) head mounted displays for the metaverse, and in display screens of automobiles, etc. Asahi Kasei developed AZP™ as a new low-birefringence polymer through molecular-level birefringence control, provided samples to prospective customers, and received favorable evaluation leading to preliminary sales. With full-scale marketing including trade show exhibits, commercialization of AZP™ is scheduled in 2022.

Features of AZP™

  • 1)Low birefringence
    With nearly zero birefringence from in-plane retardation, out-of-plane retardation, and photoelasticity, AZP™ enables parts to be molded having extremely low birefringence without the need for special molding methods, molding conditions, or post-molding processes, which contributes to higher productivity and freedom of design.

  • Polarization of lenses injection molded with a) AZP™ and b) cyclic olefin copolymer (COC); white light leakage is observed when polarization is disturbed by birefringence
    Polarization of lenses injection molded with a) AZP™ and b) cyclic olefin copolymer (COC); white light leakage is observed when polarization is disturbed by birefringence

  • 2)Outstanding optical and physical properties
    • Excellent transparency: Total light transmittance of around 92%
    • Good heat resistance: Glass transition temperature (Tg) of around 133℃
    • High surface hardness: Pencil hardness of around 3H

Expected applications

Having outstanding low birefringence, transparency, heat resistance, weatherability, light weight, etc., AZP™ is expected to contribute to sustainability as a replacement for optical glass leveraging its features in the following applications.

  • Lenses, prisms, etc. of VR/AR head mounted displays
  • Automotive head-up displays (HUD), center information displays (CID), etc.

As the metaverse draws greater attention and related demand for VR/AR head mounted displays grows, and with HUD and CID becoming more widely used for enhanced safety and convenience in the automotive field, low-birefringence transparent polymer is an essential optical material for smaller size, lighter weight, wider angle of view, higher definition, and improved visibility.

Moving forward, Asahi Kasei will advance the commercialization of AZP™ in 2022 and propose new applications of AZP™ to customers in accordance with their needs.