Abstract

We present the spectral and nonlinear optical properties of ZnOSiO2 nanocomposites prepared by colloidal chemical synthesis. Obvious enhancement of ultraviolet (UV) emission of the samples is observed, and the strongest UV emission of a typical ZnOSiO2 nanocomposite is over three times stronger than that of pure ZnO. The nonlinearity of the silica colloid is low, and its nonlinear response can be improved by making composites with ZnO. These nanocomposites show self-defocusing nonlinearity and good nonlinear absorption behavior. The observed nonlinear absorption is explained through two photon absorption followed by weak free carrier absoption and nonlinear scattering. The nonlinear refractive index and the nonlinear absorption increase with increasing ZnO volume fraction and can be attributed to the enhancement of exciton oscillator strength. ZnOSiO2 is a potential nanocomposite material for the UV light emission and for the development of nonlinear optical devices with a relatively small limiting threshold.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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