Organic-inorganic hybrid materials, composed of inorganic oxide structures and interpenetrated cross-linked organic
polymers, are promising candidates for electro/optical applications, combining the most important glasslike and
polymerlike properties. This is particularly true when large laser power density is used: these materials show high laser
damage resistance compared with that of polymeric systems.
A deep study of effects and causes of laser damage has never been done, especially for hybrid materials. The
mechanisms of optical damage depend on different factors like laser experimental parameters, such as pulse duration,
beam size and wavelength, or the microstructural characteristics and defects of the material.
Hybrid materials possessing desired shapes and optical and mechanical properties are well synthesized by the sol-gel
technique. The use of Glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane (GPTMS) allows preparing heterogeneous and resistant
materials, with good optical properties.
Different sol-gel matrices have been prepared in order to study their laser damage resistance. The possibility of varying
the catalysts and precursors or the synthesis protocol allows obtaining materials with similar chemical composition and
different microscopical properties. By this way, it is possible to study the laser damage threshold of these samples and to
find the way to enhance and optimize the laser damage resistance, useful in non-linear optical devices.