High-performance upconversion luminescent waveguide using a rare-earth doped microtube with beveled ends†
Upconversion luminescence-based waveguides can achieve optical signal transmission and visible light emission with near-infrared light excitation and their quality is highly dependent on the coupling efficiency between the light and waveguide. Here, a new luminescent waveguide formed by a rare-earth doped microtube with beveled ends was designed to increase the optical coupling efficiency for vertical waveguide-excitation. The beveled end enabled the near-infrared light to effectively couple into the waveguide and produce a visible transmission pattern and directional emission, which was not possible using conventional luminescent waveguides without beveled ends. It was found that the beveled end can not only improve the input and the output signal efficiency, but also control the coupling efficiency and transmission pattern. In particular, a coupling efficiency of ∼68% could be obtained with the optimized beveled waveguide with a rotation angle of 30°. The high optical coupling efficiency and multi-channel luminescent waveguide enabled by the microtube with beveled ends allowed for a deeper understanding of vertical waveguide excitation, and it extends the potential applications of luminescent waveguides for bioimaging and optical communication.