Chromophores with Strong Heterocyclic Acceptors: A Poled Polymer with a Large Electro-Optic Coefficient

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Science  19 Jan 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5247, pp. 335-337
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5247.335


Syntheses of a series of conjugated donor-acceptor chromophores, based on a strongly electron-withdrawing heterocyclic acceptor, have led to compounds with large second-order optical nonlinearities. Incorporation of one of these chromophores into polycarbonate at 20 percent weight loading yielded, after poling at 150 volts per micrometer, a polymer film with an electro-optic coefficient, r33, of 55 picometers per volt at 1.313 micrometers. This value is roughly twice that of lithium niobate. A variant of one of these chromophores exhibited improved thermal stability as needed for use in polymers with higher glass transition temperatures. The chromophore was soluble in common organic solvents, had a scalar product of the dipole moment, μ, and the molecular first hyperpolarizability, β (corrected for dispersion), of roughly 5000 × 10−48 electrostatic units, and showed less than 10 percent decomposition after heating for 20 minutes in air and at 200°C in an inert organic solvent.