Conjugated organic molecules with electronic "speed-bumps" can interact with light more strongly than any previous materials, according to an international research team. Researchers from Washington State University, the University of Leuven in Belgium and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed and tested an entirely new class of chromophores. The chemists in China synthesized the compounds, which were then evaluated using theoretical calculations by scientists at WSU and then tested the optical properties were tested by a team of chemists in Belgium. "To our great excitement, the molecules performed better than any other molecules ever measured," says WSU physicist Mark Kuzyk. The new materials could become a template for novel chromophores for high-speed optical switches.