Film thickness and grating depth variation in organic second-order distributed feedback lasers

We report on the preparation and characterization, under optical pump, of second-order one-dimensional distributed feedback (DFB) lasers based on polystyrene films doped with a perylenediimide derivative, as active media. The DFB gratings were engraved on the substrates (SiO2) by thermal nanoimprint lithography, followed by reactive ion etching. Laser emission wavelength was tuned from 554 to 583 nm by changing film thickness (h) between 240 and 1200 nm. The effect on the performance (emission wavelength, threshold, slope efficiency, number of modes, and spectral shape) of varying the grating depth (d) from 30 to 240 nm, for the whole range of h values, has been investigated. Although there is extensive work in the literature aiming to tune the emission wavelength of organic DFB lasers by hvariation, the effect of changing d systematically has not been previously studied. Experimental results have been interpreted by models that take into account the presence of the grating by averaging either h or the effective refractive index. Single-mode emission (λ0) was observed for h < 1000 nm, while for thicker films lasing appeared at two different wavelengths (λ0 and λ1). Models indicate that λ0 and λ1 correspond to the TE0 and TE1waveguide modes, respectively. It was found that d plays an important role in determining the DFB thresholds and slope efficiencies for two h regimes: (i) For h < 350 nm, lowest thresholds and highest slopes efficiencies were obtained with the shallower gratings; and (ii) for h > 1000 nm, d affects significantly the losses associated with the TE1 mode, so single mode emission was achieved at λ0 or at λ1 for deep and shallow gratings, respectively. Finally, the shape of the emission spectra, both below and above threshold, has also been analyzedin order to clarify the physical mechanisms responsible for the existence of gain. Bragg dips were observed in the spectra below threshold only for devices with d/h larger than around 0.3 and their width increased with increasing d/h. In these cases, single-mode DFB emission appeared at the long-wavelength edge of the Bragg dip, indicating that index-coupling modulation contributes significantly to the gain process. On the other hand, for smaller d/hvalues, Bragg dips became too small to be detected, so gain coupling becomes the dominant mechanism accounting for the presence of gain.

Navarro-Fuster, V., Vragovic, I., Calzado, E. M., Boj, P. G., Quintana, J. A., Villalvilla, J. M., … & Díaz-García, M. A. (2012). Film thickness and grating depth variation in organic second-order distributed feedback lasers. Journal of Applied Physics, 112(4), 043104.

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