MRS Fall Meeting 1993
Conference paper

Progress on nonlinear optical chromophores and polymers with useful nonlinearity and thermal stability


Organic nonlinear optical (NLO) polymers must possess large and stable bulk nonlinear properties if they are to be of practical use. Numerous classes of NLO chromophores and polymers have already been evaluated but the selection process, particularly as related to stability issues, has been very stochastic in nature. If suitable chromophores are to be successfully identified their thermochemical degradation mechanisms must be elucidated and structural modifications introduced in a rational fashion. We have devised a protocol for the evaluation of NLO chromophores which involves initial screening by thermal analysis (DSC and TGA) and selected molecular hyperpolarizability (EFISH) analysis. The most promising candidates are incorporated into thermoplastic polymer hosts where bulk nonlinear properties (dij and rij) and additional thermal stability properties are evaluated by spectroscopic means (UV-VIS). Cyclicvoltammetry (CV) has been identified as a useful tool for evaluation of these chromophores; in the case of azobenzenes with aliphatic amine donor and a nitro acceptor a correlation between the thermal stability and oxidation potential has been found. The most facile thermal degradation mechanism which occurs in these dyes has been identified and structural changes to the donor group have been introduced to avert the process.