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Keywords:

  • organic lasers;
  • microcavities;
  • spasers;
  • organic photonics

Abstract

Organic solid-state lasers are reviewed, with a special emphasis on works published during the last decade. Referring originally to dyes in solid-state polymeric matrices, organic lasers also include the rich family of organic semiconductors, paced by the rapid development of organic light-emitting diodes. Organic lasers are broadly tunable coherent sources, potentially compact, convenient and manufactured at low cost. In this review, we describe the basic photophysics of the materials used as gain media in organic lasers with a specific look at the distinctive features of dyes and semiconductors. We also outline the laser architectures used in state-of-the-art organic lasers and the performances of these devices with regard to output power, lifetime and beam quality. A survey of the recent trends in the field is given, highlighting the latest developments in terms of wavelength coverage, wavelength agility, efficiency and compactness, and towards integrated low-cost sources, with a special focus on the great challenges remaining for achieving direct electrical pumping. Finally, we discuss the very recent demonstration of new kinds of organic lasers based on polaritons or surface plasmons, which open new and very promising routes in the field of organic nanophotonics. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry