A nonlinear optical molecule, β,β-diacetyl-4-methoxylstyrene (DAMST), was synthesized and used as the electro-optic chromophore in a photorefractive polymeric composite. Its absorption peak lies at 320 nm and shows no absorption at wavelengths longer than 400 nm. In a 100 μm thickness film of DAMST:poly(N-vinylcarbazole):2,4,7-trinitro-9-fluorenone with a weight ratio of 59:40:1, two-beam coupling gain was measured as high as 32 cm−1 at a wavelength of 543 nm. A response time as short as 17 ms was estimated at an applied electric field of 84 V/μm with a writing beam intensity of 1 W/cm2. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.