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Annual Report 1996


Table of Contents

Personnel and Research summary. PDF version
Research Activities
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  • Prof. Dr. P. Günter

Academic Guests

  • William O'Hagan, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (Erasmus)
  • Dr. Feng Pan, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
  • Prof. Dr. Marko Zgonik, Institute Jozef Stefan, Ljubljana, SLO

Team Leaders

  • Dr. Christian Bosshard
  • Prof. Dr. Raymond Kind
  • Dr. Lukas Eng
  • Dr. Germano Montemezzani
  • Dr. Daniel Fluck
  • Dr. Ye Tao (interimistic)

Academic Staff

  • Markus Abplanalp
  • Armin Kündig
  • Pietro Bernasconi
  • Ilias Liakatas
  • Dr. Ivan Biaggio
  • Dr. Thomas Marty until June
  • Martin Bösch since August
  • Dr. Carolina Medrano
  • Simon Brülisauer
  • Urs Meier
  • Dr. Chengzhi Cai since August
  • Harald Pierhöfer
  • Paola Cereghetti since May
  • Tomas Pliska
  • Dr. Thomas Dietrich until February
  • Dr. Igor Poberaj until March
  • Michael Ewart
  • Roland Ryf
  • Stephane Follonier
  • Dr. Raoul Schlesser until March
  • Dr. Frank Gitmans until June
  • Christophe Seuret
  • Ulrich Gubler
  • Rolf Spreiter
  • Christian Jeitziner
  • Dr. Man Shing Wong
  • Thomas König

Technical Staff

  • Marcel Ehrensperger
  • Jaroslav Hajfler
  • Iris Gamboni
  • Hermann Wüest

Administrative Staff

  • Lotti Nötzli 50%
  • Ute van Aartsen (NEFF, 10%)
  • Brigitte Spaenhauer 50%


  • Prof. Dr. G. Assanto, Terza University of Rome, Rome, I
  • Prof. Dr. R. Blinc, Institute Jozef Stefan, Ljubljana, SLO
  • PD Dr. Ch. Buchal, Forschungszentrum Jülich, D
  • Prof. Dr. M. de Micheli, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis Nice, F
  • Prof. Dr. J. Dolinsek, Institute Jozef Stefan, Ljubljana, SLO
  • Dr. Y. Furukawa, NIRIM, Tsukuba, Japan
  • Dr. E.I. Haskal, IBM Research Laboratory, Rüschlikon
  • Prof. Dr. L. Hesselink, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA
  • Prof. Dr. K. Kitamura, NIRIM, Tsukuba, Japan
  • Prof. Dr. E. Matsushita, Gifu University, Gifu, Japan
  • Dr. K. Oyoshi, NIRIM, Tsukuba, Japan
  • Dr. A.I. Popov, University of Latvia / CIRIL, Caen, F
  • Dr. T. Shimura, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • Mr. S. Suehara, NIRIM, Tsukuba, Japan
  • Dr. M. Sundheimer, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Nice, F
  • Dr. K. Szot, Forschungszentrum Jülich, D


  • ETH Zürich
  • Swiss Science Foundation
  • Swiss Priority Program LESIT
  • Swiss Priority Program Optique II
  • National Research Program NFP36 "Nanowissenschaften"
  • European Space Agency (ESA)


PDF version

Research topics of the Nonlinear Optics Laboratory in 1996 were

  • Molecular Crystals and Polymers
  • Photorefractive Effects and Applications in Optical Parallel Processing
  • Integrated Optics and Optical Frequency Conversion
  • Molecular Beam Epitaxy of Organic and Inorganic Thin Films
  • Investigation of Organic Molecules at Interfaces using Nonlinear Optics and Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.

One of the highlights of the 1996 activities in the field of organic nonlinear optics was the development of a new type of molecular crystal based on short hydrogen bond induced self-assembly of merocyanine dye molecules, one of the molecules with the largest optical nonlinearities and which could not be crystalized in good quality before. High quality acentric crystals could be synthesized by designing a co-molecule of phenolic derivatives which leads to the formation of short and strong hydrogen bonds between the phenolic derivatives and the merocyanine molecule. Out of the 79 synthesized molecules, five different new crystals with large nonlinearities could be grown. They all crystallize in an optimized structure for 2nd and 3rd order nonlinear optics with almost perfectly aligned molecules. One of these materials can be grown in two different forms which show different optical and nonlinear optical properties but which have crystallographic structures which cannot be distinguished by x-ray diffraction. The investigation of the physical properties of this new class of organic crystals and the further optimization of the nonlinear optical properties will be one of the main topics in the near future.

Within the photorefractive team a series of breakthroughs has been achieved in 1996. We were able to extend the wavelength range of photorefractive activity in KNbO3 from about 800 nm up to the telecommunication wavelength range around 1600 nm by H+-implantation. In addition the photorefractive response in the wavelength range from 600 to 1000 nm was drastically increased by Rh-doping and suitable reduction treatment. The fundamental physics of charge transport in these materials is now much better understood so that materials for applications in the red-infrared wavelength range of laser-diodes can be tailored. For the first time "photorefractive soli-tons" at low incident laser power have been produced and investigated theoretically and experimentally in KNbO3.

In the integrated optics team a prototype of a 40 mW blue compact laser (wavelength 491 nm) with very stable intensity, based on optical frequency doubling in KNbO3, has been built. A tuneable, compact, all-solid state laser source pumped by two laser diodes with cw output power of up to 65 mW and tuning range between 431 and 438 nm was also completed using sum-frequency mixing in KNbO3.

Some new activities in the field of ferroelectric domain switching by a scanning force microscope allows a new type of information storage. We demonstrated, for the first time to our knowledge, that ferroelectric domains with lateral dimensions of less than 700 nm can be switched in the opposite direction and can be used for writing a text as a switched polarization pattern. In addition a new method, SMM (Scanning Maxwell Stress Microscopy), has been developed which allows the measurement and mapping of the electric field distribution on a nanometer scale in both lateral directions as well as in the direction normal to a ferroelectric surface. This new method will now be applied to the investigation of the dynamics of domain switching in ferroelectrics with molecular resolution.

In 1996 Dr. F. Gitmans, Dr. Th. Marty and Dr. R. Schlesser have left our laboratory after completing their PhD thesis and Dr. Th. Dietrich, and Dr. I. Poberaj finished their post-doctoral work and started their new professional activities in industry and in the home University respectively. We thank all these colleagues for their successful work and pleasant cooperation. During 1996 we could welcome Dr. Ch. Cai as a new post-doctoral fellow and M. Bösch and P.Cereghetti as new PhD students.

Prof. P. Günter completed his sabbatical with interesting and motivating stays in the USA, in Japan and France. In January / February he was a "Distinguished Visiting Lecturer" at the Center for Research in Electro-Optics and Lasers (CREOL) of the University of Central Florida in Orlando. In March / April he stayed as a visiting professor at the "Institute for Physical and Chemical Research" (RIKEN, Japan) where he interacted with colleagues active in organic nonlinear optics, in organic photorefractive materials and nanotechnology. Finally in May/June he completed his sabbatical as a visiting professor at the "Institute d'Optique Théorique et Expérimentale" of the "Université Paris-Sud", Orsay (F).

Activities of members of the Nonlinear Optics Laboratory in Conference Committees and Editorial Boards

During and after the sabbatical Prof. Günter continued to be active in a series of international committees and as editorial board member of scientific journals in the fields of optics, nonlinear optics, quantum electronics, solid state physics of ferroelectric, organic and polymeric materials. He is a member of the editorial board of the following scientific journals:

  • "Ferroelectrics"
  • "Ferroelectrics Letters"
  • "IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics"
  • "Nonlinear Optics"
  • "Optica"
  • "Optics Communication" (starting 1997)
  • "Photonics Science News"
  • "Pure and Applied Optics": Journal of the European Optical Soc. A

and was/is a member of the advisory or program committees of the following international conferences:

  • "Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics" (CLEO Europe '96)
  • "Congress of the International Commission for Optics" (ICO '96)
  • "Electrical and Related Properties of Organic Solids" (ERPOS-7)
  • "European Conference on Applications of Polar Dielectrics" (ECAPD) (Chairman of the European Steering Committee)
  • IEEE Ferroelectrics Committee of the "Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society"
  • "International Conference on Organic Nonlinear Optical Materials" (ICONO-3)
  • "International Symposium on Lasers and Nonlinear Optical Materials" (IS-LNOM '97)
  • "Materials for Nonlinear Optics"
    (European Optical Society Topical Meeting 1997)
  • "Nonlinear Frequency Conversion: Materials, Devices and Applications" (SPIE 1996 Symposium)
  • "Organic Thin Films for Photonic Applications"
    (1997 Topical Joint Meeting of the Optical Society of America and the Chemical Society of America)
  • OSA Topical Meeting on "Photorefractive Effects and Applications"
  • World Ceramics Congress on "Electronic, Magnetic and Optical Ceramics".
    (CIMTEC'98: 9th International Conference on Modern Materials and Technologies).

Prof. R. Kind is the Secretary General of the Groupement AMPERE

Prof. M. Zgonik was serving as the Chairman of the 1996

  • "European Conference on Applications of Polar Dielectrics"
    (ECAPD-3, Bled)

while he was still partly engaged at the Nonlinear Optics Laboratory.


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