Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 February 2011
The promise of conducting polymers as fast response nonlinear optical materials has been recently emphasized [1,3]. Polymers such as polyacetylene, polythiophene and the soluble (and processible) poly(3-alkylthienylenes) contain a high density of x-electrons, and they are known to exhibit photoinduced absorption and photoinduced bleaching, indicating major shifts of oscillator strength upon photoexcitation [2,4]. For polyacetylene, these nonlinear effects have been studied in detail in the picosecond [5a,b] and sub-picosecond [5c] time regime and correlated with the photoproduction of charge carriers through fast photoconductivity measurements . The data have demonstrated ultra-fast response with nonlinear shifts in oscillator strength occurring at times of the order of 10-13 seconds. These resonant nonlinear optical properties are intrinsic; they originate from the nonlinearity of the self-localized photoexcitations  which characterize this class of polymers: solitons, polarons and bipolarons .
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