Emergence - Emergence

Low-cost disposable organic laser – VECSPRESSO

A low cost organic laser based on disposable capsules

The VECSPRESSO project proposes to create a laser that is able to emit any color in the visible spectrum , thanks to the use of low-cost disposable capsules made of solid-state organic materials.<br />

Organic lasers : towards applications ?

Organic lasers enable a wide wavelength tunability across the visible spectrum. However, they have not yet found industrial applications because of two major flaws: they suffer from rapid degradation under illumination, and the pumping source has still to be another solid-state laser with a high cost. We propose to solve the first issue with a concept of «disposable« gain media capsules, separated from the rest of the laser setup, taking advantage of the very low cost of organic materials. We can thus address the problem of degradation in a completely new way, putting aside the issue of photodegradation and lifetime, and instead developing a system where capsules, once degraded, can be easily replaced. The second problem may find a solution through exploring blue diode laser pumping.<br />

The «low cost« potential of our lasers is based on the possibility of pumping with blue laser diodes, now commercially available at affordable prices following the development of the Blu-ray and laser projection market (several Watts 450 nm for a few hundred euros), which allows to consider their use as pump sources for our vertical cavity lasers. The peak power of the diodes being much lower than that of the solid-state lasers traditionally used as pump sources, a number of experimental developments are needed to reach a better understanding of the ultimate limitations in terms of achievable performance. Our external cavity laserstructure can also use as gain medium simple glass slides on which a dye-doped resin is applied by spin coating.

We have demonstrated a tunable solid-state organic laser with a 300 nm tuning range in the visible, using disposable capsules. A patent on this concept has been filed and accepted. We have also developed a Fabry-Perot ultra-thin polymer etalon, allowing for wavelength tunability.
A partnership with the ««filiere Innovation Entrepreneurs«« of the Institute of Optics Graduate School in Palaiseau was established to investigate the industrial potential of our system.

The principle of the system is demonstrated. The technological aspect has still to be developped through the development of a fully automated prototype, with real-time monitoring of the spectrum, user-friendly interface etc.. At a research level, diode pumping of vertical external cavity organic laser remains to be observed and this is the next step of the project. New opportunities can also be found on the side of the manufacturing of capsules.

Publication : O.Mhibik, T.Leang, A.Siove, S.Forget, S.Chenais
«Broadly tunable (440-670 nm) solid-state organic laser with disposable capsules«
Appl. Phys.Lett., 102, 041112 (2013)

Brevet : S. Forget, S. Chénais, Université Paris 13/CNRS, déposé à l’INPI le 18 juin 2012 sous le numéro 12 55660.

Lasers sources are nowadays used for a large panel of fields: each application can pick up the appropriate laser among the huge catalog of available laser sources. For applications in biophotonics (fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, screening techniques in drug discovery), spectroscopy, point-of-care diagnosis or sensing, there is a strong need for fully wavelength-tunable laser sources in the visible, or even better in the UV-visible spectrum. Few lasers can fulfill this condition, especially when the wavelength span requirement is broad, and all of them are expensive tools (several tens of k€). As a consequence, many users who would greatly beneficiate from a tunable laser for their application will turn to a cheaper and less-suited alternative (a filtered lamp for instance) for economical reasons. In the framework of this project, we propose a novel approach for a new kind of low-cost, power-efficient, widely-tunable laser able to potentially cover all the UV and visible spectrum (200-750 nm), based on an innovative concept of organic laser.
Paced by the recent and rapid development of organic semiconductors for LEDs (OLEDs) organic lasers are now approaching practical applications. However, the door of the marketplace is for the moment blocked by two main obstacles. First, the rapid photodegradation of organic molecules under high optical excitation leads to short device lifetimes and poor stability. The second challenge is linked to the pump source, which is in most experimental prototypes an expensive solid-state laser.
The goal of the VECSPRESSO project is to propose a viable solution to these two issues. Our starting point is our recent demonstration of a novel organic laser structure, called VECSOL (Vertical External Cavity Surface-emitting Organic Laser), with which we have shown a record efficiency of 60%, a tuning range of 50 nm with a single material, and UV emission capabilities down to 309 nm. The VECSPRESSO project aims at building on top of this root idea a prototype of low-cost laser device: the main innovation resides in the way of realizing and using the gain medium.
The aim of this project is to realize a “proof of concept” of this new laser system, which goes beyond the laboratory demonstration to tackle patenting, prototyping issues and potential applications. A precise scenario for the valorization strategy best suited for this project will be sketched within this 2-year project in strong connection with the technology transfer unit (Service des Activités Industrielles et Commerciales, SAIC) of University Paris 13. After patenting of the VECSPRESSO concept, the valorization will take the form of either a transfer of technology with licensing to a laser company, or a spin-off company creation.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Sébastien Forget (Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers - université Paris 13) – sebastien.forget@univ-paris13.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

SAIC UP13 Service d'Activités Industrielles de l'Université Paris 13
LPL Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers - université Paris 13

Help of the ANR 243,256 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: November 2012 - 24 Months

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