Novel Photoactive Nonlinear Optical Polymers for Use in Optical Waveguides

Iain A. McCulloch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Photoactive polymers were developed for use in waveguide delineation, which affords the opportunity to laterally define a waveguide through lowering the refractive index in optically exposed areas. Synthesis of a series of photosensitive polymers was reported and their photochemical kinetic behavior characterized. The photoactive group was a dinitrostilbene chromophore which was incorporated as a side chain pendant on a methacrylate backbone. Results obtained revealed that, on irradiation, the chromophore electronic absorption maximum underwent both a hypsochromic shift and oscillator strength reduction which was shown to manifest as a refractive index reduction of more than 0.05 at 1.3 μm. A full investigation of the photochemical kinetic behavior was completed along with analysis of both electronic absorption and infrared spectral data of the bleached polymers. As a comparison, the kinetic behavior of current chromophores utilized in nonlinear optical devices, the nitrostilbene and (dicyanovinyl)hexatriene, as well as the o-nitro-p cyanostilbene, was also evaluated. For all chromophores, the donor group was an amine. Kinetic experiments confirmed that the dinitrostilbene chromophore was indeed, quantitatively, the most sensitive and that, in solution, a quantum efficiency as high as 0.11 was measured. The polymers synthesized exhibited promising photochemical properties which would make them interesting waveguide cladding materials, either incorporated in the active layer as lateral cladding or imposing a dielectric loading as the upper cladding layer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1697-1702
Number of pages6
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel Photoactive Nonlinear Optical Polymers for Use in Optical Waveguides'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this