Organic polymers as nonlinear optical materials

Paras N. Prasad

Defying the traditional perception of plastics as structural materials, organic polymeric systems containing conjugated structures have emerged as exciting nonlinear optical materials. The reason lies in their highly polarizable π-electron clouds, which yield the largest observed nonresonant third-order optical susceptibility (x(3) ≤ 10-9 esu) and the fastest (femtoseconds) response times. High non-resonant optical nonlinearity is desirable for wave guiding in integrated optics applications. Polymeric systems also offer the flexibility of tailoring the structure by molecular engineering whereby a rich variety of nonlinear polymeric systems can be synthesized and fabricated in various shapes such as films, fibers, slabs, etc.

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