Mechanically tunable optofluidic distributed feedback dye laser
A continuously tunable optofluidic distributed feedback (DFB) dye laser was demonstrated on a monolithic replica molded poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) chip. The optical feedback was provided by a phase-shifted higher order Bragg grating embedded in the liquid core of a single mode buried channel waveguide. Due to the soft elastomeric nature of PDMS, the laser frequency could be tuned by mechanically stretching the grating period. In principle, the mechanical tuning range is only limited by the gain bandwidth. A tuning range of nearly 60nm was demonstrated from a single dye laser chip by combining two common dye molecules Rhodamine 60 and Rhodamine 101. Single-mode operation was maintained with less than 0.1nm linewidth. Because of the higher order grating, a single laser, when operated with different dye solutions, can provide tunable light output covering the entire spectrum from near UV to near IR in which efficient laser dyes are available. An array of five DFB dye lasers with different grating periods was also demonstrated on a chip. Such tunable integrated laser arrays are expected to become key components in inexpensive advanced spectroscopy chips. ©2006 Optical Society of America.