Guest host polymer thin films of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) incorporated with (4'-nitrobenzene)-3-azo-9-ethylcarbazole (NAEC) were fabricated by spin coating and then poled by the method of corona-onset poling at elevated temperature. The absorption mechanism of the polymeric film, which is very important for the optical transmission losses and directly relates to the orientation of chromophore NAEC in polymer PMMA, was investigated in detail. From the UV-visible absorption spectra for NAEC/PMMA film before and after being poled, we determined the change of absorption coefficient kappa with the wavelength and approximately calculated the maximum absorption A(parallel tomax) as 3.46 for incident light propagating parallel through the film, i.e. the ordinary polarized light, which cannot be directly measured in the spectro photometer. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.