Anthracene derivatives as broadband nonlinear optical materials: nonlinear absorption and excited-state dynamics analysis†
Two anthracene derivatives, AN-1 and AN-2, with different π-bridge lengths were designed and synthesized to investigate their optical nonlinearities. The nonlinear absorption (NLA) properties of both derivatives were measured via the femtosecond Z-scan technique with the wavelength range from 532 nm to 800 nm. The reverse saturable absorption (RSA) of both compounds results from two-photon absorption induced excited-state absorption (TPA-ESA). At all wavelengths, the reverse saturable absorption of AN-2 is superior to that of AN-1 due to a better molecular planarity for AN-2. Compared with the results of AN-1, the two-photon absorption coefficient of AN-2 can be increased by nearly 8 times (from 0.182 × 10−2 cm GW−1 for AN-1 to 1.42 × 10−2 cm GW−1 for AN-2) at 600 nm by extending the π-bridge. The evolution of femtosecond transient absorption (TA) spectra reveals the relaxation process from the singlet local excited-state (LES) to charge transfer state (CTS) for both compounds. The results imply that anthracene derivatives may be potential candidates for applications in future laser photonics.