Abstract

We investigated the third-order nonlinear optical properties of several soluble π-conjugated polymers with a goal of reliable determination of the parameters that characterize the nonlinearity, such as the real and imaginary parts of the nonlinear refractive index n2 and the one-photon loss and two-photon loss merit factors W and T, respectively. The measurements were performed at 800 nm with 100-fs pulses from an amplified Ti:sapphire system. We present results of investigations of several 2,5-substituted poly(p-phenylene vinylenes), including poly[2-methoxy-5-(2-ethyl-hexyloxy)-p-phenylenevinylene] and a soluble ladder poly (p-phenylene) polymer. In particular, Z-scan measurements of polymer solutions were found to be useful for the determination of the complex nonlinear refractive index. The results could be verified by time-dependent degenerate four-wave mixing studies performed on thin films of the polymers. We found generally good agreement between the values of n2 determined from Z scan and those from degenerate four-wave mixing. The results indicate that the nonlinear refractive index of the order of 10-12 cm2/W can be readily obtained for various conjugated polymers. However, the two-photon merit factors T larger than unity are commonly encountered within the two-photon absorption ranges of these compounds.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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