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Organic Lasers One Step Closer to Reality

Diagram of organic thin-film laser under operation, schematic cross-section, and SEM image of grating.

Diagram of organic thin-film laser under operation, schematic cross-section, and SEM image of grating.

November 6, 2017 | Source: R&D Magazine, rdmag.com, 1 May 2017, Kyushu University

New research could make lasers emitting a wide range of colors more accessible and open new applications from communications and sensing to displays.

Researchers at Kyushu University's Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics Research (OPERA) reported an optically pumped organic thin-film laser that can continuously emit light for 30 ms, which is more than 100 times longer than previous devices.

Unlike the inorganic lasers commonly found in CD drives and laser pointers, organic thin-film lasers use a thin layer of organic molecules as the laser medium, which is the material in the device that actually produces lasing by emitting and amplifying light when excited with an energy source. In this case, the energy source was intense ultraviolet light from an inorganic laser.

A very promising feature of organic thin-film lasers is the possibility to more easily achieve colors that are difficult with inorganic lasers. By designing and synthesizing molecules with new structures, emission of any color of the rainbow is possible.

"People have been studying organic thin-film lasers for a long time, but degradation and loss processes have greatly limited the duration of emission," says Atula S. D. Sandanayaka, lead author of the paper in Science Advances reporting the new results.

The researchers were able to reduce these problems and extend the duration of the lasing by combining multiple strategies.