Nonlinear optical characterisation of organic chromophores and aspects of molecular aggregation
The work presented in this thesis describes an investigation into the properties and behaviour of a new class of nonlinear optical organic chromophores. This study contributes to the optimisation of nonlinear optical molecules through an improved understanding of the relationships between the molecular nonlinear optical properties and the measured macroscopic quantities. A series of highly dipolar non-linear optical chromophores with absorption typically in the range of 350-500 nm have been synthesised by the reactions of amines with tetracyanoquinodimethane (TCNQ). One of the advantages of these materials is the large molecular figure of merit (μβ where μ is the molecular dipole moment and P is the second order polarisability), which theoretically allows large nonlinear optical coefficients to be obtained. The molecular dipole moments of these chromophores were determined both experimentally and theoretically, and were found to agree. The nonlinear optical properties of these compounds in solution were studied using an electric field induced second harmonic generation (EFISH) technique. The measurements of μβ at 1064 nm and 1907 nm in chloroform and acetone are presented. Moderate μβ values were obtained but β is found to be unexpectedly small in chloroform and shows unusual dispersion characteristics in this solvent compared to acetone. Further concentration investigations revealed features that suggest the presence of aggregates within solution. Optical spectroscopy measurements provide evidence of new species whose presence and conformation were found to be solvent-dependent. The results of this work highlight the need for an entire concentration range to be studied if accurate determination of molecular properties of highly dipolar molecules is required. Guest-host polymer films of these materials have been corona poled using a constant current corona triode. Detailed characterisation studies of the second order nonlinearities using second harmonic generation (SHG) were compared to a less dipolar molecule. These investigations showed that the highly dipolar TCNQ derivatives show severe aggregation within the polymer films. The magnitude of the SHG that can be obtained from such systems is therefore limited by this aggregation.