Organic nonlinear optical crystals have attracted much interest due to their numerous design possibilities and larger and faster optical nonlinaerities when compared to inorganic crystals. Among these materials, the bench-mark stilbazolium crystal, DAST (N,N-dimethylamino-N’-methylstilbazolium p-toluenesulfonate) is the most investigated one and also the one presenting the highest electro-optical and nonlinear optical figures of merit among the presently available bulk organic crystals. However, salt-typed stilbazolium chromophores are dissolved in water and formed centrosymmeteric hydrated phase, which occur a damage by humidity and limit to apply various crystal growth techniques.
In this paper, new cation core structures based on N-benzyl pyridinium salt with various substituents ( X : -H for BP1, -CH3 for BP2, -(CH3)2 for BP3 ) on the benzyl group have been investigated for noncentrosymmetric molecular ordering in the crystalline state. In BP3 chromophore, two methyl groups on the benzyl ring can be given more asymmetry of the chromophore shape. Among three N-benzyl pyridinium cations with p-toluenesulfonate anion, BP3 crystals exhibit acentric crystal structure (monoclinic, P21 phase) with a large macroscopic optical nonlinearity of 540 times second harmonic generation efficiency as that of urea at non-resonant frequency 1.9 μm. By introducing non-polar benzyl group, the BP3 chromophores have not formed hydrated phase crystals with water in contrast to DAST crystals. Moreover, the one-order lower solubility in water of BP3 than that of DAST causes good humidity resistance and it can be applied to various crystal growth techniques. We demonstrate THz generation with as-grown BP3 crystals without any complicated polishing and cutting procedures by optical rectification using 180 fs pulses at pump wavelength of 836 nm.