A novel series of styryl-based chromophores is synthesized, the constituents of which are characterized by UV-Vis, NMR, mass spectrometry, and thermal analysis. The chromophores show good solubility in MeOH, THF, and CH2Cl2. They also show good thermal stability for practical applications. Density functional theory calculations are employed in order to ascertain the structural, molecular, and electronic properties of the dyes. Moreover, the second order nonlinear optical (NLO) responses of the dyes are measured by the electric field induced second harmonic (EFISH) generation method. Relatively high scalar products of the vector component of the first hyperpolarizability tensor and the dipole moment vector (mu beta) are obtained for some of the compounds. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.