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20 April 2006 Polymer poling characterization using second harmonic generation (SHG)
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Several polymer molecules have structures which are suitable for the non-linear optic applications. We report on the design and fabrication of a high performance electro-optic modulator made of polymer thin films. The polymer we study contains a chromophore based on Disperse Red One covalently grafted to a host-matrix. The polymer materials are deposited in thin layers on a glass substrate by chemical solution deposition, either by spin-coating or by dip-coating. The thickness of the films is ranging from a hundred nanometers to several micrometers. Initially, the polymer molecules are randomly oriented and the films are isotropic, hence no electro-optic effect can be observed. In order to break the symmetry and align the chromophores, the films are submitted to the so-called corona poling process. As a result, their structure become non-centrosymmetric and the second-order susceptibility is no longer zero. The corona poling method consists of applying a high electric field to the polymer by means of a needle electrode, placed above the polymer film which is posed on a grounded sample support electrode. Thermal regulation of the support electrode allows to control the temperature during the poling of the films. Once the poling process has been established, a chemical cross-linking function is thermally activated in order to fix the orientation of the chromophores in the polymer matrix. The orientation and its stability in time is evaluated with a Second Harmonic Generation measurement set-up using the Makers Fringes configuration. We studied the influence of the poling temperature, the distance between the corona needle electrode and the sample, the high voltage applied, and the duration of the poling process on the efficiency of chromophore orientation in order to optimize the poling procedure. Finally, aging of poled polymer samples has been investigated at elevated temperatures, confirming the stability of the cross-linking process.
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Gildas Tellier, Dominique Averty, Errol Blart, Christian Boisrobert, Hartmut Gundel, Sylvain Le Tacon, Cyrille Monnereau, Fabrice Odobel, and Raynald Seveno "Polymer poling characterization using second harmonic generation (SHG)", Proc. SPIE 6192, Organic Optoelectronics and Photonics II, 61922L (20 April 2006);

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