The catalyst-free sonogel route was implemented to fabricate highly pure, optically active, hybrid azo-dye/SiO2-based spin-coated thin films deposited onto ITO-covered glass substrates. The implemented azo-dyes exhibit a push-pull structure; thus chromophore electrical poling was performed in order to explore their quadratic nonlinear optical (NLO) performance and the role of the SiO2 matrix for allowing molecular alignment within the sonogel host network. Morphological and optical characterizations were performed to the film samples according to atomic force microscopy (AFM), ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy and the Maker finger technique. Regardless of absence of a high glass transition temperature (Tg) in the studied monomeric liquid crystalline azo-dyes, some hybrid films displayed stable NLO activity such as second harmonic generation (SHG). Results show that the chromophores were homogeneously embedded within the SiO2 sonogel network, where the guest-host molecular and mechanical interactions permitted a stable monomeric electrical alignment in this kind of environment.
Comments: 27 Pages. Manuscript submitted and accepted for publication as an article in Journal of Modern Optics
[v1] 29 Jan 2010
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