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Spectral and Nonlinear Optical Characteristics of ZnO Nanocomposites

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The spectral and nonlinear optical properties of ZnO based nanocomposites prepared by colloidal chemical synthesis are investigated. Very strong UV emissions are observed from ZnO–Ag, ZnO–Cu and ZnO–SiO2 nanocomposites. The strongest visible emission of a typical ZnO–Cu nanocomposite is over ten times stronger than that of pure Cu due to transition from deep donor level to the copper induced level. The optical band gap of ZnO–CdS and ZnO–TiO2 nanocomposites is tunable and emission peaks changes almost in proportion to changes in band gap. Nonlinear optical response of these nanocomposites is studied using nanosecond laser pulses from a tunable laser in the wavelength range of 450–650 nm at resonance and off-resonance wavelengths. The nonlinear response is wavelength dependent and switching from RSA to SA has been observed at resonant wavelengths. Such a change-over is related to the interplay of plasmon/exciton band bleach and optical limiting mechanisms. The observed nonlinear absorption is explained through two photon absorption followed by weak free carrier absoption, interband absorption and nonlinear scattering mechanisms. The nonlinearity of the silica colloid is low and its nonlinear response can be improved by making composites with ZnO and ZnO–TiO2. The increase of the third-order nonlinearity in the composites can be attributed to the enhancement of exciton oscillator strength. This study is important in identifying the spectral range and the composition over which the nonlinear material acts as an RSA based optical limiter. These nanocomposites can be used as optical limiters and are potential materials for the light emission and for the development of nonlinear optical devices with a relatively small limiting threshold.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Science of Advanced Materials (SAM) is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal consolidating research activities in all aspects of advanced materials in the fields of science, engineering and medicine into a single and unique reference source. SAM provides the means for materials scientists, chemists, physicists, biologists, engineers, ceramicists, metallurgists, theoreticians and technocrats to publish original research articles as reviews with author's photo and short biography, full research articles and communications of important new scientific and technological findings, encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all latest aspects of advanced materials.
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