Phthalocyanines (Pcs) offer a high architectural flexibility in structure, which facilitates the tailoring of their physical, optoelectronic and chemical parameters over a very broad range. This tutorial review describes the recent advances in the synthesis of soluble axially substituted or bridged gallium phthalo- and naphthalocyanine compounds, and their photophysical and nonlinear optical properties. The exploitation of the chemical reactivity of the Ga-Cl bond can allow the preparation of a series of highly soluble axially substituted and bridged Pc complexes.Axial substituents in Pcs influence favourably nonlinear optical absorption for the presence of a dipole moment perpendicular to the macrocycle in the axially substituted phthalocyanines. All Z-scans performed exhibit a decrease of transmittance about the focus typical of an induced positive nonlinear absorption of incident light. Substitution and dimerization of the phthalocyanine monomer resulted in significant reductions in the saturation energy density of the material displaying clear evidence of the usefulness of structurally modifying the gallium phthalocyanine unit. Similar to indium phthalocyanines, gallium phthalocyanines are also among the most promising materials that have been investigated as limiters of intense light and the current series presents a selection of structural modifications useful for varying their nonlinear optical properties.
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