Due to environmental concerns, interest in bioplastics is rising. For
optical applications, materials have to meet high requirements.
Polylactide (PLA), a known bioplastic, is already applied in high tech
applications such as medicine. The material shows favorable optical
properties and excellent resistance against photodegradation. However,
the material turns hazy due to crystallization when exposed to
temperatures above 55-60 °C. This renders it useless for optical
applications. Clouding might be avoided by influencing PLA’s
crystallization behavior. In this critical review the broad use of PLA
is discussed. It is also shown, that currently no material is
commercially available that meets all requirements set while being
biodegradable and exclusively based on renewable feedstocks. Finally, an
overview of the current state in research is provided, considering
PLA-based materials with adapted crystallization behavior under the
aspect of transparency. At last, recommendations for the goal of
achieving highly sustainable PLA-based optical components are given.