Chromophores capable of undergoing conformational changes when exposed to ultraviolet or visible light have been synthesized with functional groups permitting attachment to polymer matrices. One class of such chromophores, containing reactive functionalities at both ends of the chromophore, are referred to as double-end crosslinkable (DEC) chromophores. These chromophores are used in the synthesis of hardened nonlinear optically active lattices and in the fabrication of buried channel nonlinear optical waveguides by photoprocessing; development of such waveguides represents a critical step in the production of polymeric electro-optic modulators. Such chromophores are also crucial to the phenomena of laser-assisted poling (also known as photochemically-induced poling). Finally, these chromophores are attached to the surface of polystyrene beads permitting the realization of room temperature spectral hole burning exploiting morphology-dependent resonances. Such resonances provide the basis of wavelength coding for the development of high density optical memories.