Nonlinear Optical Polymers: Discovery to Market in 10 Years?
Systems that use light as a carrier of information offer the possibility of extremely high speed processing, transmission, and storage of data. Many such photonic systems require high-performance nonlinear optical (NLO) materials (1, 2), particularly those exhibiting second-order NLO effects, which occur only in molecules and materials lacking a center of symmetry (1). Certain conjugated organic molecules have been known to exhibit substantial second order optical nonlinearities, and recently, successful approaches to optimization of these properties by rational modification of molecular structure have been demonstrated. However, achieving the required noncentrosymmetric order has in the past been a major obstacle to the synthesis of materials with large nonlinearities because the large majority of nonchiral organic compounds crystallize in centrosymmetric space groups.
© 1994 American Association for the Advancement of Science.