Modified sol-gel films for optical storage

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Substituted azobenzene molecules (DR1, DO3, DR17, DY7, Magneson1, DR19C1 and DR19CICI) are grafted onto a silicon alkoxide precursor. Films are prepared by the sol-gel process. We have conducted preliminary optical experiments with DR1 and DO3 functionalized oxide gels. Optical information is written on the sol-gel film via the trans-cis-trans photoisomerization process with a polarized argon laser beam and read with a low power He-Ne laser. A stable signal (up to 60% of the maximum birefringence) is read a long time after the writing beam had been turned off. This shows the ability of the azo oxide gels to store optical information.