Design of polymethine dyes with large third-order optical nonlinearities and loss figures of merit

Joel M. Hales, Jonathan Matichak, Stephen Barlow, Shino Ohira, Kada Yesudas, Jean Luc Brédas, Joseph W. Perry, Seth R. Marder

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306 Scopus citations


All-optical switching applications require materials with large third-order nonlinearities and low nonlinear optical losses. We present a design approach that involves enhancing the real part of the third-order polarizability (γ) of cyanine-like molecules through incorporation of polarizable chalcogen atoms into terminal groups, while controlling the molecular length to obtain favorable one- and two-photon absorption resonances that lead to suitably low optical loss and appreciable dispersion enhancement of the real part of γ. We implemented this strategy in a soluble bis(selenopyrylium) heptamethine dye that exhibits a real part of y that is exceptionally large throughout the wavelength range used for telecommunications, and an imaginary part of γ, a measure of nonlinear loss, that is smaller by two orders of magnitude. This combination is critical in enabling low-power, high-contrast optical switching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1485-1488
Number of pages4
Issue number5972
StatePublished - Mar 19 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • General

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