Abstract

Methods for calculating the optical properties as a function of wavelength for second-order nonlinear optical polymers are presented. By combining the optical properties of the individual components, that is, those of the polymer and those of the chromophore, one can determine the real and the imaginary parts of the index of refraction and the second hyperpolarizability as a function of wavelength for a composite polymer, for either a guest–host or a side-chain system. These properties are important for characterizing and applying nonlinear optical polymers to devices. The methods allow for an accuracy in index of 3%, if the wavelength range includes the main absorption band (with absorption maximum at λmax) of the chromophore, and of 0.2% for wavelengths 400 nm and more to the long-wavelength side of λmax. In addition, if the index of the composite polymer is known at one specific wavelength on the long-wavelength side of λmax, the dispersion in the index in this wavelength range can be predicted to within 0.1%.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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