Short-Wavelength Lasing-Spasing and Random Spasing with Deeply Subwavelength Thin-Film Gain Media

Jill I. Tracey, Deirdre M. O'Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Lasing-spasers are subwavelength-sized metal/dielectric structures that emit light via stimulated emission of surface plasmons. Here, it is demonstrated that silver nanoparticles combined with deeply subwavelength, blue-emitting conjugated polymer thin films can function as room-temperature lasing-spasers and random spasers with quality factors up to 250. In contrast to other thin-film-based spaser and plasmonic random laser studies, which have used gain films ranging from ≈200 nm to 500 nm in thickness and which monitor emission guided to the sample edges, in this study, the thickness of the thin-film gain medium ranges from 30 nm to 70 nm and emission is collected normal to the plane of the film. This eliminates effects that arise from optical trapping of scattered emission within the gain medium that is typically associated with plasmonic random lasing. The use of the conjugated polymer thin-film gain medium allows higher chromophore densities compared to organic dye-doped layers, which enables spasing using deeply subwavelength gain layers. Samples implementing gold nanoparticles and the conjugated polymer gain medium do not exhibit stimulated emission, demonstrating that it is the spectral overlap between the silver nanoparticle's surface plasmon resonance and the gain medium's emission that is necessary for observation of stimulated emission from this material system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1802630
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - Sep 26 2018


  • conjugated polymers
  • lasing
  • nanoparticles
  • silver
  • spasers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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