The Nonlinear Optics Web Site

Your source for tabulations of nonlinear optical properties of materials

Get the latest information on nonlinear-optical tabulations, submit data, or join discussions

Nonlinear optics describes the interaction of light with matter. The interaction of a particle of light, called a photon, with a material can be used to study matter's microscopic properties. Alternatively, materials can be designed to harness light for useful applications such as routing signals of light in optical fibers to make the internet faster or to build high-speed computers. Other applications include medical imaging, cancer therapies that kill bad cells and leave the healthy ones unscathed, and the development of novel materials that repair themselves and morph according to their programming and environment. This web site is provided as a resource on nonlinear optics and nonlinear-optical materials.


The nonlinear-optical response scales with size of the system and the number of electrons. The intrinsic hyperpolarizability removes the effects of scaling so that molecules can be better compared with each other. Read more or see a short tutorial.

Breaching the gap

Until the mid-2000s, the best molecules were found to fall about a factor of 30 short of the fundamental limit. More recently, several groups have reported on molecules that come closer to the limit. Read more

Reversing Time's Arrow

Researchers use polymers to reverse the arrow of time. More


Learn about various topics in light-matter interactions from the basics of the polarizability to quantum calculations of nonlinear susceptibilities. Read more

Inhomogeneous broadening

Nonlinear susceptibility calculations often do not account for inhomogeneous broadening. A general theory of broadening that includes a stretched gaussian model has been reported. More

How good is your molecule?

Keep track of the molecules with the largest nonlinear-optical response and submit your data in the form described on the Tabulations Page.


Download useful source code; Origin, MatCad, and Matlab worksheets; and share code. Read more

Photodynamic therapy

Two-photon absorption may offer a better method for differentiating between good and bad cells. Studies in mice shows this approach to me a promising one for zapping tumors. Read more

High resolution micro-fabrication

Resins that photo-polymerize under two photon absorption can lead to higher resolution features due to the fact that the absorption probability scales as the square of the intensity profile. Read more


Get the latest news on new materials development, new technological advances, and updates on new physics of nonlinear optics. More