Abstract

Hybrid materials based on combination of polymers and inorganic nanoparticles (NP) attracted considerable attention in the last decade due to their advantageous electrical, optical, or mechanical properties. Recently, we reported a significant improvement of the photoresponse by doping azopolymers with ZnO NP. To study the influence of the composition of the dopant, in our present work we have synthesized anisotropic organic/inorganic nanocomposite materials by incorporating 5–15 nm sized SiO2 NP in a side-chain azopolymer. As a result we observe an enhancement of the photoinduced birefringence in these composite materials with about 20% compared to the nondoped sample. Additionally, we discuss possible mechanisms leading to this enhancement related with the scattering caused by the NP and the increased mobility of the azochromophores in the vicinity of NP.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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