Conjugated Polymers As Materials For Solid-State Lasers

Tech ID: 10089 / UC Case 1997-017-0


Conjugated polymers are a novel class of semiconductors that combine the properties of semiconductors with the processing advantages and mechanical properties of polymers. A variety of high-performance photonic devices fabricated from conjugated polymers have been demonstrated, including light-emitting diodes, light-emitting electrochemical cells, polymer grid triodes (a new architecture for plastic transistors), field-effect transistors, photovoltaic cells, photodetectors, and optocouplers; i.e. nearly all categories that characterize the field of photonic devices. In many cases, such polymer-based devices have reached performance levels comparable to, or even better than, their inorganic counterparts. Notably missing from this list, however, has been the category representing solid-state lasers.


Scientists at the University of California have developed solid-state lasers based upon a class of semiconducting luminescent conjugated polymers. Thin films of conjugated polymers exhibit thresholds for amplified spontaneous emission as low as 100 W/cm2. A variety of resonator structures have been utilized to enable polymer lasers, including the following: microcavity lasers, distributed feedback lasers, and "whispering gallery" mode lasers.


The polymer-based lasers can take the form of a variety of devices, such as:

  • Thin film lasers;
  • Optically pumped lasers;
  • Injection lasers;
  • Light-emitting diodes;
  • Light-emitting electrochemical cells.


The conjugated polymer lasing layers are high gain low loss materials. They can exhibit gain narrowing and amplified spontaneous emission with thresholds as low as 100 W/cm2.

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 5,881,083 03/09/1999 1997-017



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