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Modulation of retroreflection by controlled frustration of total internal reflection

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Abstract

Retroreflective images are useful in outdoor application for which high legibility is required both during the day and in response to vehicular illumination. To date, all variable message retroreflective images have employed mechanical shutters as the switching mechanism. As an alternative, we propose a method for switching the total internal reflection effect used in retroreflectors by means of pneumatic actuation of surface treated polydimethylsiloxane gel. This approach is both effective and compatible with current large-scale manufacturing methods.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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