We present here novel easily processible organic-inorganic nanocomposites suitable for holographic fabrication of diffraction optical elements (DOE). The nanocomposites are based on photocurable acrylate monomers and inorganic nanoparticles (NP). The compatibility of inorganic NP with monomers was achieved by capping the NP surface with proper organic shells. Surface modification allows to introduce up to 50wt.% of inorganic NP in organic media. Depending on the NP nature (metal oxides, phosphates, semiconductors, noble metals) and their properties, the materials for both efficient DOE and multifunctional elements can be designed. Organic-inorganic composites prepared have been successfully used for the effective inscription of periodic volume refractive index structures using the holographic photopolymerization method. The nanocomposite preparation procedure, their properties and optical performance of holographic gratings are reported. The use of functional NP makes it possible to obtain effective holographic gratings having additional physical properties such as light-emission or NLO. Some examples of such functional polymer-NP structures and their possible application fields are presented. The combination of easy photo-patterning of soft organic compounds with physical properties of inorganic materials in new nanocomposites and the flexibility of the holographic patterning method allow the fabrication of mono- and multifunctional one- and multi-dimensional passive or active optical and photonic elements.© (2009) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.