Refractive index database

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Optical constants of (C2H4O)n (Polyvinyl alcohol, PVA)
Schnepf et al. 2017: n 0.3–1.5 µm

Wavelength: µm

Complex refractive index (n+ik)[ i ]

n   k   LogX   LogY   eV

Derived optical constants

Dispersion formula [ i ]


Conditions & Spec sheet

substrate: Si


Isotropic PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) thin film on silicon substrate.
k = 0.0050±0.0004


M. J. Schnepf, M. Mayer, C. Kuttner, M. Tebbe, D. Wolf, M. Dulle, T. Altantzis, P. Formanek, S. Förster, S. Bals, T. A. F. König, A. Fery. Nanorattles with tailored electric field enhancement, Nanoscale 9, 9376-9385 (2017) - see Supplementary materials


[Expressions for n]   [CSV - comma separated]   [TXT - tab separated]   [Full database record]


Polyvinyl alcohol, (C2H4O)n (PVA)

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA, (C2H4O)n) is a water-soluble synthetic polymer that exhibits excellent film forming, emulsifying, and adhesive properties. Due to its hydrophilic nature and high biocompatibility, it is frequently employed in a variety of biomedical applications, including drug delivery systems and wound care products. In the realm of optics, PVA is commonly used as a base material for hydrogel contact lenses due to its comfort and permeability to oxygen. It is also utilized in the creation of polarizing films for LCDs. PVA's unique structural characteristics, which include a mix of both crystalline and amorphous regions, can influence its optical properties. This polymer is also known for its barrier properties against gases, making it useful in packaging. One of the interesting attributes of PVA is its ability to form hydrogels when treated appropriately, expanding its range of potential applications. While it possesses many advantageous qualities, it is important to note that PVA is sensitive to moisture, which can alter its physical properties.

Other names

  • Poly(vinyl alcohol)
  • PVOH
  • PVAl


  • Kuraray Poval
  • Mowiol
  • Celvol
  • Polyviol
  • Elvanol

External links