Dispersive optical bistability in a Fabry-Perot (F-P) cavity with a third order nonlinear optical polymer was demonstrated. This effort involved the development of several nonlinear optical polyimides and an evaluation of their linear optical and nonlinear optical properties. These Materials were processed into waveguiding films having good homogeniety and optical properties. Several of these films were shown to have desirable third order nonlinearities, while exhibiting good mechanical and environmental stability. Characterization of these materials involved the measurement of their absorption profiles, film thicknesses, optical waveguide propagation constants and nonlinear optical susceptibilities. Based on the measured results, a specific polyimide was chosen and used to demonstrate an all-optical instrinsic bistable device operating at a wavelength of 1.06 μ. Using ∼ 100 ps input pulse widths at 1.06 μ, dispersive optical bistability originating from the induced refractive index change, δn, due to an electronic nonlinearity of the polyimide was observed.