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Issue 19, 2012
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Diffusion driven optofluidic dye lasers encapsulated into polymer chips

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Lab-on-a-chip systems made of polymers are promising for the integration of active optical elements, enabling e.g. on-chip excitation of fluorescent markers or spectroscopy. In this work we present diffusion operation of tunable optofluidic dye lasers in a polymer foil. We demonstrate that these first order distributed feedback lasers can be operated for more than 90 min at a pulse repetition rate of 2 Hz without fluidic pumping. Ultra-high output pulse energies of more than 10 μJ and laser thresholds of 2 μJ are achieved for resonator lengths of 3 mm. By introducing comparatively large on-chip dye solution reservoirs, the required exchange of dye molecules is accomplished solely by diffusion. Polymer chips the size of a microscope cover slip (18 × 18 mm2) were fabricated in batches on a wafer using a commercially available polymer (TOPAS® Cyclic Olefin Copolymer). Thermal imprinting of micro- and nanoscale structures into 100 μm foils simultaneously defines photonic resonators, liquid-core waveguides, and fluidic reservoirs. Subsequently, the fluidic structures are sealed with another 220 μm foil by thermal bonding. Tunability of laser output wavelengths over a spectral range of 24 nm on a single chip is accomplished by varying the laser grating period in steps of 2 nm. Low-cost manufacturing suitable for mass production, wide laser tunability, ultra-high output pulse energies, and long operation times without external fluidic pumping make these on-chip lasers suitable for a wide range of lab-on-a-chip applications, e.g. on-chip spectroscopy, biosensing, excitation of fluorescent markers, or surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).

Graphical abstract: Diffusion driven optofluidic dye lasers encapsulated into polymer chips

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Article information

01 May 2012
07 Jun 2012
First published
20 Jul 2012

Lab Chip, 2012,12, 3734-3739
Article type

Diffusion driven optofluidic dye lasers encapsulated into polymer chips

T. Wienhold, F. Breithaupt, C. Vannahme, M. Brøkner Christiansen, W. Dörfler, A. Kristensen and T. Mappes, Lab Chip, 2012, 12, 3734
DOI: 10.1039/C2LC40494J

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