Stacked electrospun polymer nanofiber heterostructures with tailored stimulated emission
We present stacked organic lasing heterostructures made by different species of light-emitting electrospun fibers, each able to provide optical gain in a specific spectral region. A hierarchical architecture is obtained by conformable layers of fibers with disordered two-dimensional organization and three-dimensional compositional heterogeneity. Lasing polymer fibers are superimposed in layers, showing asymmetric optical behavior from the two sides of the organic heterostructure, and tailored and bichromatic stimulated emission depending on the excitation direction. A marginal role of energy acceptor molecules in determining quenching of high-energy donor species is evidenced by luminescence decay time measurements. These findings show that non-woven stacks of light-emitting electrospun fibers doped with different dyes exhibit critically-suppressed Förster resonance energy transfer, limited at joints between different fiber species. This leads to the obtaining of hybrid materials with mostly physically-separated acceptors and donors, thus largely preventing donor quenching and making it much easier to achieve simultaneous lasing from multiple spectral bands. Coherent backscattering experiments are also performed on the system, suggesting the onset of random lasing features. These new organic lasing systems might find application in microfluidic devices where flexible and bidirectional excitation sources are needed, optical sensors, and nanophotonics.