• blends;
  • core–shell polymers;
  • light scattering;
  • optics;
  • transparency


Blending submicron rubber particles with plastics can enhance the mechanical strength of the composite material. However, the difference in refractive index between the particle and matrix scatters light, making the material more opaque. We consider the possibility of reducing a particle's scattering cross section by adding coatings. We find that adding coatings can reduce the amount of scattering by changing the effective dielectric contrast between the particle and the matrix. We also found that, when the refractive index of the particle is very close to that of the matrix the order of the layers can have significant effects on the transmitted light. Such effects may be useful for engineering the optical properties of particle-doped plastics. Resonant effects akin to those found in antireflection coatings on planar surfaces are difficult to obtain and rarely provide a significant reduction in scattering. We discuss theoretical models that can qualitatively explain some of our results. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 43: 3534–3548, 2005