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Issue 11, 2017
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Second-order nonlinear optical switching with a record-high contrast for a photochromic and thermochromic bistable crystal

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Abstract

Nonlinear optical (NLO) switchable materials are important for photonic and optoelectronic technologies. One important issue for NLO photoswitching, the most studied physical switching approach, is how to improve the switching contrast of second harmonic generation (SHG) in crystals, because the known values are generally below 3 times. Thermoswitching, as another approach, has shown impressive high SHG-switching contrasts (4–∞ times), but the fast decay of thermally induced states demands constant heat sources to maintain specific SHG intensities. We have synthesized a photochromic and thermochromic bistable acentric compound, β-[(MQ)ZnCl3] (MQ+ = N-methyl-4,4′-bipyridinium), which represents the first crystalline compound with both photo- and heat-induced SHG-switching behavior and the first example of a thermoswitchable NLO crystal that can maintain its expected second-order NLO intensity without any heat source. The SHG-switching contrast can reach about 8 times after laser irradiation or 2 times after thermal annealing. The former value is the highest recorded for photoswitchable NLO crystals. This work also indicates that higher SHG-switching contrasts may be obtained through increasing electron-transfer efficiency, variation of permanent dipole moment, and self-absorption.

Graphical abstract: Second-order nonlinear optical switching with a record-high contrast for a photochromic and thermochromic bistable crystal

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Publication details

The article was received on 17 Mar 2017, accepted on 20 Sep 2017 and first published on 20 Sep 2017


Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7SC01228D
Citation: Chem. Sci., 2017,8, 7751-7757
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Second-order nonlinear optical switching with a record-high contrast for a photochromic and thermochromic bistable crystal

    X. Xing, R. Sa, P. Li, N. Zhang, Z. Zhou, B. Liu, J. Liu, M. Wang and G. Guo, Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 7751
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SC01228D

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