Second-order, nonlinear optical polymers based on epoxy-substituted methylvinylisocyanates and N-substituted maleimides were synthesized and characterized with spectral and thermal analysis. The photocrosslinking and thermal-crosslinking reactions of copolymers with different chromophore contents were studied. Thermally induced crosslinking during the poling process, performed at the glass-transition temperature (T-g), was prevented by T-g being decreased through the addition of a plasticizer. Electrooptic coefficients (r(33)), measured for crosslinked and noncrosslinked systems, had similar absolute values and relaxation dynamics. This behavior was explained in terms of the similar rotational mobility of the chromophore units and the paucity of crosslinking sites. (C) 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.