“Think of a garden hose. If it has holes in it, water springs out through a million tiny leaks. But if you can eliminate those leaks, you confine the water in the hose and improve the water pressure. We’ve plugged the holes that were allowing light to leak out of the MEH-PPV,” says Dr. Lewis Reynolds, a teaching associate professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research.
MEH-PPV is a low-cost polymer that can be integrated with silicon chips, and researchers have long sought to use the material to convert electricity into laser light for use in photonic devices such as optical amplifiers and chemical sensors. However, attempts to do this have failed because the amount of electricity needed to generate laser light in MEH-PPV was so high that it caused the material to degrade.
Now researchers have developed an inexpensive way to confine more light in the material, which lowers the energy threshold needed to produce focused laser light by 50 percent. The researchers did this by sandwiching the MEH-PPV between two materials that have matching indices of refraction, efficiently reflecting light back into the MEH-PPV and preventing light from escaping. This results in lower thresholds for laser light.
“This approach is fairly inexpensive and could also be easily scaled up for large-scale processing,” Reynolds says.
The “sandwich” also makes the material more stable by limiting the MEH-PPV’s exposure to oxygen. This makes the material less subject to degradation due to photo-oxidation, which occurs when materials are exposed to both light and oxygen.
“This is a meaningful step forward for low-cost fabrication of these devices, but further optimization is required,” says Dr. Zach Lampert, a former Ph.D. student at NC State and lead author of the paper. “We’re working on that now.”
The paper, “Enhancement of optical gain and amplified spontaneous emission due to waveguide geometry in the conjugated polymer poly[2-methoxy-5-(2'-ethylhexyloxy)-p-phenylene vinylene],” is published online in Applied Physics Letters. The paper was co-authored by Dr. John Papanikolas of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.
“Enhancement of optical gain and amplified spontaneous emission due to waveguide geometry in the conjugated polymer poly[2-methoxy-5-(2'-ethylhexyloxy)-p-phenylene vinylene]”
Authors: Zach E. Lampert and C. Lewis Reynolds, Jr., North Carolina State University; John M. Papanikolas University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Published: February 2013, Applied Physics Letters
Abstract: We report enhanced amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) and optical gain performance in a conjugated polymer (CP)-based thin film waveguide (WG) Si(100)/SiO2/poly[2-methoxy-5-(20-ethylhexyloxy)-p-phenylene vinylene] (MEH-PPV) by encapsulating the active layer with a transparent dielectric film of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). With index matched SiO2 and PMMA claddings, symmetric WGs are formed that exhibit increased mode confinement and reduced propagation loss enabling lower ASE threshold (40%) and higher optical gain (50%) compared to Si(100)/SiO2/MEH-PPV/air asymmetric WGs. An extremely large net gain coefficient of 500 cm_1 is achieved under picosecond pulse excitation, which is >4_ larger than values previously reported in the literature. Fabrication of symmetric WGs requires no complex processing techniques, thus offering a simple, low-cost approach for effectively controlling the ASE behavior of CP-based WGs and related optical devices.
Matt Shipman | EurekAlert!
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing
21.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows
21.11.2017 | US Geological Survey
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Life Sciences