The large magnitude and ultrafast response of the electronic third-order optical susceptibility (χ3) in conjugated polymers makes them attractive materials for uses in nonlinear optics. In particular, it may be possible to fabricate all-optical devices which require only relatively low threshold powers for switching and which function on a femtosecond time scale. Such devices would necessarily be based on waveguide structures, since high optical confinement is required in the polymer over macroscopic distances (~cm) to build up the nonlinear phase shift necessary for optical switching processes.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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