Among soft organic nonlinear optical materials is a class of recently developed: χ(2)_ enhanced ferroelectric liquid crystals (FLCs). The FLC phase nonlinear susceptibility is enhanced by synthesizing onto the molecules constituting the FLC phase a moiety with an increased hyperpolarizability. The hyperpolarizability of the FLC molecules couples into the permanent, thermodynamically stable, polar order of the FLC phase resulting in a material with an enhanced nonlinear susceptibility. Like other soft organics, the linear and nonlinear optical materials characteristics can be altered by chemical synthesis and mixing.
We report on our technique to evaluate the nonlinear optical properties of χ(2)-enhanced FLCs by measuring their high-frequency electro-optic r-coefficients. The technique is broad-band, readily allowing electro-optic coefficient measurement between 100 KHz and 200 MHz. Although the experimental geometry is not conducive for practical device application, it offers a compromise between ease of fabrication and magnitude of nonlinear response. This technique can also be used to evaluate other organic materials such as poled polymers.