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13 September 2007 New sol-gel materials for high energy applications in nonlinear optics
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Organic-inorganic hybrid materials, composed of inorganic oxide structures and interpenetrated cross-linked organic polymers, are promising candidates for electro/optical applications, combining the most important glasslike and polymerlike properties. This is particularly true when large laser power density is used: these materials show high laser damage resistance compared with that of polymeric systems. A deep study of effects and causes of laser damage has never been done, especially for hybrid materials. The mechanisms of optical damage depend on different factors like laser experimental parameters, such as pulse duration, beam size and wavelength, or the microstructural characteristics and defects of the material. Hybrid materials possessing desired shapes and optical and mechanical properties are well synthesized by the sol-gel technique. The use of Glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane (GPTMS) allows preparing heterogeneous and resistant materials, with good optical properties. Different sol-gel matrices have been prepared in order to study their laser damage resistance. The possibility of varying the catalysts and precursors or the synthesis protocol allows obtaining materials with similar chemical composition and different microscopical properties. By this way, it is possible to study the laser damage threshold of these samples and to find the way to enhance and optimize the laser damage resistance, useful in non-linear optical devices.
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I. Fortunati, R. Signorini, R. Bozio, G. Brusatin, and M. Guglielmi "New sol-gel materials for high energy applications in nonlinear optics", Proc. SPIE 6653, Linear and Nonlinear Optics of Organic Materials VII, 665314 (13 September 2007);

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