Nonlinear, optical, plasmon, photorefractive, polymer, photoacoustic, graphene, nanocluster, nanomaterial, nanofabrication


Nano and nanostructured materials offer unique physical and chemical properties that differ considerably from their bulk counterparts. For decades, due to their fascinating properties, they have been extensively explored and found to be beneficial in numerous applications. These materials are key components in many cutting-edge optic and photonic technologies, including photovoltaics, waveguides and sensors. In this dissertation, the uses of nano and nanostructured materials for optical applications are investigated in the context of optical limiting, three dimensional displays, and optical sensing. Nanomaterials with nonlinear optical responses are promising candidates for self-activating optical limiters. In the first part of this study, optical limiting properties of unexplored nanomaterials are investigated. A photoacoustic detection technique is developed as an alternative characterization method for studying optical nonlinearities. This was done with an indigenously developed setup for measuring the photoacoustic signals generated from samples excited with a pulse laser. A theoretical model for understanding the experimental observations is presented. In addition, the advantages of this newly developed technique over the existing methods are demonstrated. Blending optical sensitizers with photoconducting polymers and chromophores results in a polymer composite that is able to record a light grating. This composite can be used as recording media in 3D holographic display technology. Here, 2D nano materials, like graphenes, are used as optical sensitizers to improve the response time of a photorefractive polymer. The addition of graphenes to a PATPD/ECZ/7-DCST composite results in a three-fold enhancement in response time and therefore faster recording speed of the medium. The faster build-up time is attributed to better charge generation and mobility due to the presence of graphenes in the composite. Lastly, a facile nanofabrication technique is developed to produce metallic nanostructures with a tunable plasmonic response. The enhancement of the light-matter interactions due to these nanostructures in sensing an analyte is demonstrated.


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Graduation Date





Thomas, Jayan


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics


Optics and Photonics

Degree Program

Optics and Photonics








Release Date

November 2020

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Optics and Photonics; Optics and Photonics -- Dissertations, Academic